Bob Houghton was the most influential coach in my career, says Gouramangi Singh

KOLKATA: There is no doubt about the great impact and influence that Bob Houghton He had in Indian football while he was in charge of the national team from 2006 to 2011.

Every player who represented the country during that period has a lot of good things to say about English. One of them is the former defender of India Gouramangi Singh , who feels that it was Bob Houghton who played an extremely defining role in his career by switching his position from central midfield to central defense.

Until I joined Tata Football Academy in 2000, I used to play in my school and locality and it was mostly in central midfield or even advanced position on the pitch. Also at the TFA and even after graduating from there, I was either central midfielder or central defensive midfielder, said Gouramangi, who shared a picture with Bob Houghton on Facebook.

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It was Bob Houghton who saw something in him and altered his position just before the 2006 Asian games in doha

"We had a training camp in Goa before the Asian games and I was thrilled to see my name in the final squad. I think two or three training sessions before the first match against Hong Kong, he told me that I would be playing in central defence. I simply had no reaction to that. It was a big decision but, at that time, I was just happy that I would be on the pitch. I was ready to play in any position," the 34-year-old reminisced.

What made my job easier is Bob Houghton 's pre-match instructions which were short, precise and clear. We were told what we had to do with and without the ball. I played all three matches (Maldives and Iran were the other teams in the group) and really enjoyed it. Bob Houghton 's decision to put me in central defense played a big role in my career.

Back at the club level, the Manipur boy was still taking turns in midfield before starting to play central defense the following season at Churchill Brothers.

He also made his senior national team debut in Nehru Cup 2007 . Quite unfortunately, Deepak (Mondal) bhai got injured during a match and Bob Houghton put me in his place. It was an outstanding feeling. He was truly the most influential coach of my career, said Gouramangi, who is in Imphal right now .

Gouramangi became one of India's most trusted central defenders during his playing career, both at club and national level.