Mashoor Shereef has settled in well at NorthEast United in his first season in ISL…
Former Manchester United Kavungal (a local team in Malappuram) forward Mashoor Shereef is now proving to be an extremely useful addition in the NorthEast United defence as Khalid Jamil’s team chase the playoffs.
The forward-turned-defender, who started his career in Chennai’s football leagues, joined the Indian Super League (ISL) club ahead of the ongoing season and has settled into the first team in no time.
He has played nine matches in the ISL so far this season, with seven of those appearances being starts. For an Indian player in his first year in the ISL after making the transition from I-League, he has clocked more minutes than he might have expected at the beginning of the season. And he has made full use of his opportunities.
Mashoor has turned into a physically adept, strong centre-back who reads the game well and is alert throughout games. He is neither a tough-tackler nor a ball-player – the 28-year-old is somewhere in the middle and may opt to stand off compared to going in for a risky challenge.
At NorthEast, he has benefitted from the mentoring by centre-back partner Benjamin Lambot with whom he has played the most at centre-back. Mashoor has been paired alongside Lambot a total of five times whereas he has played with Dylan Fox from the start in only two games. The Belgian’s experience has helped Mashoor settle in at the back and deal with the opposition’s forwards in a composed manner.
The Highlanders have conceded a total of 24 goals from 18 games this season. In the matches that Mashoor has started, they have let in 10 goals whereas in the 11 games he hasn’t featured in the starting lineup, the team has conceded 14 goals.
The former striker, who hails from the football-loving district of Malappuram, had 11 appearances to his name, which included three starts, as Chennai City won the I-League in the 2018-19 season. His numbers improved again in the following season, as the then 27-year-old played every single league game, started an AFC Cup fixture and scored six goals in all competitions.
“The turning point in my career was changing my position (to be a defender). I was able to make an impact after that and received offers from other clubs after having done well in that role. I am happy and I am confident that I can do well going forward (in the ISL),” the Malayali defender had told Goal before the season had kicked off.
While he still has room to improve, Mashoor has taken his time to reach the level he is at now and has put in the work to make use of the chance that has been given to him by NorthEast United. And he has turned out to be one of the few Indian centre-backs who have caught the eye in ISL this season.