MUMBAI: Highly impressed with his ward's performance, Indian football coach Stephen Constantine feels his newly-appointed skipper Sandesh Jhingan is meant for "playing in a bigger league".
As India gear up for the second match in the Hero International tri-series against St Kitts and Nevis, Constantine lavished praise on Jhingan.
"The captain has to reflect the character of the team. He has to set the tone of the team. Sandesh is a fighter like me who loves to lead the side from the front," Constantine said.
Jhingan had made his debut for India against Nepal, which was Constantine's first match as coach in his second stint.
"Sandesh, to me, is a player who should be playing in a bigger league," Constantine said.
Hosts India beat Mauritius 2-1 in Jhingan's first match as captain.
A defender par excellence, Jhingan wasn't too much willing to dwell on his performance.
"Playing for your country is itself a great honour and here I am, leading my country," he stated.
Jhingan has played a stellar role in the back-four along with Anas Etathodika, Pritam Kotal, Narayan Das and Gurpreet Sandhu (in goal) in helping India create a new record for by winning nine international matches, including the unofficial game against Bhutan.
Constantine further went on to say that Jhingan is one of the "leaders for the future".
"In coming days, at least we can identify Sandesh as a leader once Sunil (Chhetri) hangs his boots," he maintained.
Meanwhile, Chhetri, along with Gurpreet and Udanta Singh will be joining the national camp after Bengaluru FC's AFC Cup stint.
India have won two out of their two matches in the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers against Myanmar (away) and Kyrgyz Republic (at home) and will face Macau on September 5 (in Macau).