New Delhi, Sep 8: Former Newcastle and Sunderland striker Michael Chopra says he has not given up on his ambition to represent India in international football. [Full schedule of ISL 2016]
Chopra said in the past he is willing to surrender his British passport to represent India. The striker has represented England at the junior level but according to FIFA rules, he is eligible to represent India since his grandparents moved to England from Jalandhar in the 1950s.
"I do still have ambitions to play for India and in fact I am in the process of doing so now. I am speaking to lawyers about the right steps to take, it's just taking longer than I first thought," he said.
The first British Asian to play in the high-powered world of English Premier League was the top pick during the international draft for Kerala Blasters in the inaugural season of ISL in 2014, but somehow could not live up to the expectations.
An injury did not help his case and even though he fought his way back into the squad for the final clash against Atletico de Kolkata, there was no happy ending.
In the following season for 2015, Chopra was not considered by either Kerala Blasters or any of the seven clubs in ISL.
But now that Kerala Blasters have recalled him and he has proved his fitness in last three weeks of intense training at Pune, Chopra would want to make the best of the lifeline that has been provided to him by the Sachin Tendulkar co-owned franchise.
"I think there were a few things that went wrong; I underestimated the ISL. I thought it was going to be easier than it was, and then I picked up a hamstring injury in pre-season which set me back.
"When I was due to play against Atletico de Kolkata, I picked up a really bad ankle injury that should have kept me out of the ISL, but I was determined to try and play my part in the semifinals and final.
"I played through pain. It still haunts me to this day how the Kolkata goalkeeper made that save in the last five minutes," said Chopra. Chopra has learnt lessons from his past endeavours in the ISL and is now determined to set the wrongs right.
"This year I have approached things differently. I know what to expect and I have made sure I am going to be fit this season. I have been training with DSK for three weeks before I met up with Kerala Blasters and I would like to thank Shirish and Dave for giving me the opportunity to do so," said Chopra.