After the successful move from Scotland’s Premiership League to the Hero Indian Super League, Greg Stewart is excited to kick-off a new adventure in his footballing career with Jamshedpur FC. The Scotland star is now a few weeks away from arriving in India for the pre-season.
In his first interview ever, Greg talks about switching leagues, expectations from the upcoming season with Jamshedpur FC, Indian football and much more, all the way from Scotland.
Here are the excerpts:
Welcome Greg! Your first thoughts on joining Jamshedpur…
I am so excited to see what this season has in store for us. It's a new adventure for me and one I am really looking forward to. It's going to be an amazing experience to work under Owen Coyle and give everything on the pitch to get silverware for Jamshedpur. Just can't wait to get started.
Why did you choose Hero Indian Super League and Jamshedpur FC as the next step in your career?
I had a chat with the manager, Owen Coyle, and he told me about the Indian football scene at the moment. We had a long chat about playing in the Hero Indian Super League and it seemed like something I would be keen to do.
You played in the Rangers FC previous season, which was managed by Liverpool legend, Steven Gerard. Tell us about that experience from that legendary season…
Yes, it was obviously a historic year for us! It was a great season as we also managed to stay undefeated till the end; to stop Celtic FC from getting 10 wins in a row was also a massive achievement for the club. It was a great experience which I would never forget and it was great to work with Steven Gerard as well. As we all know, football has a learning curve everyday, so the 2 years at Rangers FC was amazing for me and hopefully I can look back at this time when I retire from football. At the end of the day, I am really looking forward to seeing what the future holds, and I’m reaching India to get started on it.
From Scotland to India, what do you think will be the difference in the challenges faced?
I think it’s going to be a tough one for different reasons. Obviously being away from my family will be a personal challenge, but I am looking forward to receiving their support when I play in India. Another challenge would be coping with the weather as it is pretty cold in Scotland. But, I hope I adjust with the weather change quickly.
What convinced you to join Jamshedpur FC? It was Owen Coyle, right?
Obviously, our Scottish connection with Owen Coyle makes it easier and I am acquainted with the captain, Peter Hartley, as well as I have played against him in Scotland. I had a chat with Peter and he told me that he loves to play in India. So after having a chat with him, it made it easier for me to consider this move which I am really looking forward to. It does seem like it is a tough league to play in with the competition being very close. I know Jamshedpur narrowly missed out on the qualification to the play-offs as I checked the season table and it was a difference of only a few points. So, it is those small margins that I feel we can push which will take us to the top of the league.
Does narrowly missing out on the qualification put more pressure on the new signings coming in the club in this season?
Personally, I always like to put some pressure on myself in any way possible. I want to challenge myself even further and I always want to see the team that I sign for end up at the top of the league table rather than the bottom. We need to have that winning mentality to be successful when one signs for a new team. When I spoke to Peter, he told me that Jamshedpur FC has signed some really good players this season and the team wants to push harder to finish at the top end of the league. So, it is going to be an exciting season.
What are your personal goals that you aim to achieve with Jamshedpur FC this season?
Obviously, there are a few goals in mind that I would like to keep to myself for now, but I am just really looking forward to reaching India as I still am processing my move from Scotland to India. I am really buzzing about being in India and meeting all my new teammates and the staff working behind the scenes. I just really want to get started with the pre-season and get to work.
Prior to your signing to Jamshedpur FC, did you get any chance to follow Indian football or the Hero Indian Super League?
I did not get many chances to know much, but I did have a look at the league and check out the Jamshedpur players along with the new signings of this season as well as the club’s last season which was the best season so far. When I spoke to Peter Hartley and the Gaffer, they told me that they are really excited for the season up ahead and I am actually just itching to get back to work as I have never really gone this long without playing since the last season finished and the Hero Indian Super League commences at the end of the year which is going to be a bit strange for me but I am trying to keep myself as fit as possible. Obviously, it has been difficult considering the pandemic restrictions but I am just trying to be in my best shape and I cannot wait to get to work when the season kicks-off.
What do you prefer more: Scoring a goal or providing an assist to your teammate?
There is no better feeling than scoring a goal, but I am actually more of a team player and I like having both to be honest as I get the same buzz from doing both. But, I think I prefer scoring a goal a little bit more. Having said that, for me, as long as the team wins the game, that is all that matters to me.
Whether I score a goal, provide an assist or just simply run around and work hard for the team, I only focus on winning games.
Any message that you would like to give to the fans of Jamshedpur FC?
I am excited for the season ahead and hopefully I can provide some goals and assists but most importantly I hope I work hard for my teammates and be a good team player to give the club a successful season.