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India will have players in EPL, La Liga in five years: Shirish Kulkarni

Liverpool Football Club (LFC) is the latest addition to the list of some of the top international football clubs, who have come to India to spread their wings. However, there is a stark difference between LFC and the other soccer schools initiated by Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Bayern Munich, etc.

LFC coach Ray Curtis, CCI's Sachin Bajaj, LFC International Football Academy-DSK Shivajians President Shirish Kulkarni and coach Michael Rice at a press conference yesterday
LFC coach Ray Curtis, CCI's Sachin Bajaj, LFC International Football Academy-DSK Shivajians President Shirish Kulkarni and coach Michael Rice at a press conference yesterday 

"All these clubs do not have academies in India. They're all soccer schools. In a school, you train for a few days or weeks, but in an academy, a player will spend a minimum of two years.

You need to learn not only about football, the techniques and the tactics but also build on the chemistry within the team," said Shirish Kulkarni, President of the Liverpool International Football Academy–DSK Shivajians project, in the city to announce Phase 2 of their U-17 and U-19 talent scouting initiative spread across Mumbai, Delhi and Pune. The academy has been set up in Loni, Pune. The first phase saw trials in Aizawl, Shillong and Goa.

"India has got enough football talent. The only thing they lack is physical strength. You need high level coaching to get over that and we have that at Liverpool FC. I'm confident we can produce 7-8 top players in the next 5-6 years and they will play in prestigious leagues like the EPL and Spanish League," added Kulkarni.

One of the two Liverpool coaches to be employed at the academy, Ray Curtis, felt the Indian youth are a committed lot. "They're very committed, athletic and have good technical skill. We must focus on their haves rather than their have-nots," he said.

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