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Chhetri creates quite a buzz in British media

From 1999 to 2002, Bhaichung Bhutia was signed by Bury, making him the first Indian-born to play professionally in Europe.

sports Updated: Jan 28, 2009 16:10 IST
Abhishek Hore

Coventry City are silent but Sunil Chhetri’s arrival in England generated a buzz in the media there. An article in the Daily Telegraph’s website even found a similarity between the India and East Bengal striker’s going for trials and Slumdog Millionaire, the film with multiple Oscar nominations this year.

“Can he break the mould? Can he become the one in a billion Indian?” Daily Telegraph asked on Monday. “Can Slumdog Millionaire’s Hollywood dream come true for Sunil Chhetri?” read the headline in the website.

“I am optimistic and looking forward to the trial. I just want to come here and give my 100%,” Sky Sports quoted Chhetri as saying ahead of his one-week trip one that could be extended to accommodate a courtesy call to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.

Chhetri reached England on Sunday and unconfirmed reports said the player had two training sessions with the first team which play Cardiff City in The Championship on Wednesday. City though hasn’t yet spoken about him.

From 1999 to 2002, Bhaichung Bhutia was signed by Bury, making him the first Indian-born to play professionally in Europe.

His stint wasn’t really successful but on arrival the British media had wondered if Bhaichung could become the “Buryani” that would spice the club’s performance.

“Bhutia has been an inspiration both on and off the field. After him the flow of players has slowed down. Hopefully more players will start coming over to England from now on. It would mean a lot to me and to players from India,” Chhetri, who grew up learning the tricks of the trade in New Delhi, told Sky Sports News.

With 15 goals from 34 internationals, Chhetri is a proven customer upfront, but for an Indian playing football anywhere in Europe is always going to be a different cup of tea altogether.

And the diminutive forward knows it too well.