BENGALURU: Udanta Singh, one of the fastest wingers in the country, has evolved over the last few years. The Bengaluru FC and India forward is known for his pace, and dribbling abilities, which help in creating chances. But he had often lacked the eye for goals. He had shied away from taking a shot, and looked to another player to do the job. This season, though, he has matured into a menacing force infront of goal, and metamorphosed into a scorer.
A regular fixture on Carles Cuadrat’s first XI, the 22-year-old stepped up and scored crucial goals in the Indian Super League this season. When fellow forward Nicolas Fedor (Miku) was sidelined with injury for over a month, Udanta shared the goal-scoring duty with skipper Sunil Chhetri and didn’t disappoint, helping his team bag important points.
A look at his numbers would give a clear picture. With five goals and three assists to his name — compared to a goal and seven assists in the last edition – a much-needed improvement can be observed.
“As a right-winger, my job was to feed Sunil bhai and Miku with the ball. I was happy to play the provider’s role last season. But when Miku was injured I felt the need to step up. Sunil bhai has also influenced me a lot in taking those chances, and I feel more confident now. Luckily, I have a few goals to my name. But I need to improve more,” said Udanta.
However, it’s not just eye for goals that has improved for the Manipuri. In addition to working on his crosses at the national camp, Udanta has also worked on his defensive skills during the off-season. He eventracked back, to counter the threat of Redeem Tlang and Federico Gallego on several occasions.
“It’s something that I have learned over time. In our style of play, forwards cannot just attack. They are the first line of defence. And coach asked me to help with that. So, I have an additional duty on the pitch and I enjoy doing that,” said the Tata Football Academy graduate.
As Bengaluru are set to face FC Goa in the ISL final, Udanta’s role will be more crucial than ever. His abilities will be crucial against a stubborn Goa backline which has conceded the least amount of goals (21 in 20 games). And the ‘Flash’ – as he is fondly known among the fans – is ready to step up.
“From our defeat in the last ISL final, we realised that we cannot be casual in any situation. We have to be ready. It will be a difficult game against Goa not just because they are good, but because they love to hold onto the ball. We have to play accordingly and it will be a battle of the midfield. We’re confident of getting the job done in Mumbai,” Udanta opined.