Footballer Anirudh Thapa with cricketer M S Dhoni
Footballer Anirudh Thapa with cricketer M S Dhoni

Aggressive Dhoni has impressed and influenced my style of play: Footballer Anirudh Thapa

New Delhi, September 19, 2020

Cricket icon M S Dhoni has inspired a whole new generation of sportspersons and being a co-owner of Chennaiyin FC he has influenced several young players of that team.

Promising young midfielder Anirudh Thapa who has played 55 matches for Hero ISL side Chennaiyin FC and was part of their title-winning side in the fourth edition of the competition admits that Dhoni has played an important role in motivating the players.

In an interview with AIFF TV, the 22-year-old said that Dhoni's "aggression" impressed him the most and even influenced his style of play on the football pitch.

"I have always enjoyed watching Dhoni play because of the style he has. The aggression -- I really like that. It has influenced me in my game, too, as football is a game where you need to be tough and aggressive,” the midfielder said.

“Watching him hit those powerful shots and big sixes -- it has had an effect on me and helped me to go into those 50-50 challenges fiercely and win them," he said.

It was in August this year that Dhoni announced his retirement from International cricket.

"When I heard the news of his retirement, I was obviously very sad because I’m a big fan of him. Hopefully, I can watch him play in the IPL this time," he said.

"Dhoni is a very humble man, besides being a great person who is always motivating us and sharing his experiences. At team lunches, he would come up and talk to us," Anirudh said.

He disclosed how Dhoni, who is also the co-owner of the same team, would speak to the players and motivate them. “He has seen so much in life and all of us are aware of his background. So, what he told us made a big difference. It was amazing to gain that experience and it was truly a fanboy moment for me," he said.

He said Dhoni's humility wowed him and a group of young players of the club. "I remember that after one particular lunch everyone was leaving and some of the young players came up to him to speak to him and ask for his autograph. Other people were calling him but he insisted he will talk to us.

"He gave us his time and shared his experiences with us. That was the time I realized how humble he is. It is one of the biggest positives I have seen and learnt from him."

At the end Thapa offered some valuable tips for budding footballers himself. "You need to understand the game of football. If you understand it, playing it becomes a lot easier.

"You need to be acquainted with basic things such as your first touch, passing, positional sense, always checking over your shoulders, etc.,. If you learn or master these basic things, which are not taught but still are very important, you can play football well. All these things are interconnected with each other."


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