Trevor Sinclair: “Only one way this national team is heading!” | RevSportz Exclusive

                                      Trevor Sinclair during Team India’s practice session in Doha. Credits- AIFF

During his heyday, Trevor Sinclair was a fast and tricky winger who enjoyed his best spells in the colours of Queens Park Rangers and West Ham, before winding down his top-flight career with Manchester City. There were also 12 England caps, four of them during the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea. It was during his time with West Ham at Upton Park that Sinclair struck up a friendship with Igor Stimac, the Croatian who now coaches India’s national team. A quarter-century after they played together for Harry Redknapp, the two are reunited at the AFC Asian Cup, with Stimac having invited Sinclair to work with the wide players and on set-pieces. In this exclusive interview with Boria Majumdar, Sinclair gives his impressions on what he’s seen so far, and what Indian fans can expect in Qatar over the coming weeks.

Boria: Trevor, welcome. Your first impressions, having been a part of the team for some days now?

Trevor Sinclair: Couple of months ago, Igor gave me a call. Sent me some videos of the team, told me about the work that he has been doing with the team. I had a look at those videos and got impressed with what I had seen. Joining the camp has been difficult as I do not know anyone personally. Igor and the coaching staff have been sensational to me. Igor himself addressed the group of players and I also felt very welcome by the players as well.

Very professional, respectful, and hardworking group. I am joining a project that has already started and I have seen that straight away. Discipline in the group, standard of training and it is not a dream job for me as a lot of hard work in this group has already been undertaken. I am feeling very privileged and can only see this Indian team get better and better from here. Spirit and belief are there, and there are some leaders in the group who set standards for the young players.

Boria: In a tournament like this, how do you speak to the boys? When you meet the group and with your kind of pedigree, how do you want to make a difference?

Sinclair: I understand what you are saying! When you look at the FIFA Rankings, Australia are ranked a lot higher than us. Uzbekistan have shown good form since 2021. Their U-21 team have been flying also. We just need to concentrate on ourselves. With proper nutrition, strength and conditioning, and the work rate that the boys have been putting in, we are heading towards the right direction. It might be a lower level in talent, but our sport is not just a science.

You do get results with a team with right spirit, with right fitness levels, right strategies and right belief.Support can produce results that people would not have believed can happen. I started my career in the English fourth tier. I had a dream and ended up playing for England in the World Cup. So, that belief these players need to have and from my perspective, I see that belief in these players day in, day out.

Also Read: Last-Gasp Wins and New Faces – India’s Road to the 2023 Asian Cup

Boria: Your first thoughts on Sunil Chhetri?

Sinclair: He is a class act! I only know him for few days and he is a serious character, serious about winning, competing, and training at his best. He is dependable. When you need just that one moment of magic in the final third, his finishing, he has already showcased to the world. I have played with a lot of good players like [Jermaine] Defoe, [Les] Ferdinand, [Wayne] Rooney, Michael Owen, and they all had that killer instinct. Sunil is no different.

Boria: All we want is to see the fight from the boys in the upcoming tournament. As a member of the coaching team, can you tell us if that isgoing to happen?

Sinclair: Thatis what 100 per cent going to happen. The squad is training hard at the moment. We need to be physical. We need to run harder, we need to have a better shape, we need to have determination. We need to work harder and fight for the country, if we get any chance of doing something in the opening game.

Boria: If there is a longer role going forward – for example, the Afghanistan World Cup Qualifiers, extremely important for us – can we solicit the services of Trevor Sinclair?

Sinclair: 100 per cent. I have already made that very clear to Igor. I have so much respect for him. We are very close friends. The respect what I see in each coaching staff, players, the medical staff – everyone for Igor, that is not given. He has earned that by his hard work, consistently for the last four years. I love being part of this. If you need me for anything in the future, I am there.

Boria: When I had the recent detailed interview with Igor, he emphasised on the set-piece improvement as the area where he desperately needs you to contribute. Can you elaborate on that?

Sinclair:I was a winger. So, I have a lot of ideas and am collaborating with the team. I have brought a lot of new ideas and we have started to execute those in training with some selected players who will be a part of these different set-pieces. Now, we are getting the reaction or feedback from those players whether they are feeling comfortable while executing those. Who is going to take what roles?

We know what we are trying to achieve. There are some sneaky little set-pieces we are looking at this moment. Plenty more to practice, but we do not want to overload the players. Once they start to execute, on the field against top opponents, they will feel more confident in terms of set-pieces because of that practice. If that gives them a little bit extra in their finishing quality, then my job is done. 

                                                                                            Credits- AIFF

Tune into an exclusive conversation with Trevor Sinclair, Indian Football’s set piece specialist-  


Boria: Few years back, we had a defeatist mentality. But, under Igor, India look people in the eyes and say that we are here to compete. Have you got that sense?

Sinclair: I know that because of the work that I see them putting into not only their physical condition, but also their technical execution on the training pitch. They are going through the drills like they know that they need to be spot on with their passing, execution of crossing, and finishing. Against top teams, you do not get many chances and you’ve got to be clinical. Igor has already mentioned that. But certainly, the way they have been preparing themselves physically, this is as good as I have seen.

When, you talk about strength and conditioning, Luka (Modric) has been around the game for a long time. I have seen Cristiano Ronaldo doing training at Manchester everyday just to update himself. Luka has opened my eyes in a different way. There are so many things that he has shown me in his videos.Players like them, even Messi – strength and conditioning has helped them to keep that aging process away and to keep playing for so long.

These players are doing that and that can level up against talented players. Teams are going to be surprised as these boys are in top condition physically. If you have a group of players who are fit, can run, and compete for 95 minutes, then anything is possible.

Boria: What is realistic for this team, Trevor? Can you tell all fans to back the team as they will not be let down?

Sinclair:100 percent, back the team! I cannot predict whether we can go to the knockout stages or not. But what I can predict from what I have been seeing day in, day out,is that a group of professionals are ready to give everything for the nation and hopeful for some upsets against the big boys in this competition. You work now, the rewards [come] later.

If they continue to work and believe in each other, I think that they have a good chance. If you want to keep that improvement graph growing for the national team, you have to keep believing Igor and his coaching staff. What they are doing with the players, there is only one way this national team is heading! I am really impressed and proud to be a part of it. 

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