‘Fortunate to play alongside captain Manpreet: midfielder Nilakanta

'Fortunate to play alongside captain Manpreet,' says Indian Hockey midfielder Nilakanta

Bengaluru, May 25 (UNI) The Indian men’s hockey team midfielder Nilakanta Sharma, who has played 57 matches for the national side, has said that he is extremely fortunate to have the chance of playing alongside his captain Manpreet Singh.

Nilakanta, who was part of the FIH Men’s Series Finals Bhubaneswar Odisha 2019 gold medal-winning team, also said that he is looking to take his game to the next level in 2021.

“It’s been a great journey with the Indian team so far. We have seen a lot of highs and I feel we can do even better in the upcoming years. I have been very lucky to have the chance of playing alongside a player like Manpreet Singh in the Midfield region. I have learned a lot from him,’ said the 26-year-old.

‘And there’s a lot more to learn from him as well. I have improved a lot in the last few years, but I really want to take my game to the next level this year as it’s an important year for us,’ he added.

While speaking about an aspect the team needs to improve upon, Nilakanta said, “I think we can improve on executing our short passes and maintaining possession for a longer period. If we keep the ball with us for a longer period of time, then we can create more opportunities to score. However, everyone in the team is playing well. We just have to make a few tweaks here and there.”

The midfielder also mentioned that the team’s preparation for the Olympics is carrying on in full swing. He said that the team’s is very confident about achieving its goal in Tokyo.

“The Olympics is not far away. Our preparations for the big is event is carrying on in full swing. Everyone is confident about their respective games and if we play to our full potential, we can certainly make history in the Tokyo Olympics. It’s all about peaking at the right time and that will be our main focus once the Olympics is underway,” he said.

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