The coach of Chennaiyin FC John Gregory today said that the new Indian Super League (ISL) player regulations of allowing only five foreigners in the starting XI is a positive step. "Some of the Indian players in ISL have been in awe of the foreign players and have possibly not been given the opportunity to prove themselves," Gregory told reporters.
"If it's a choice between foreign and Indian players, the foreigners always get selected. So I'm impressed with the new regulations that allow only five foreigners in the starting XI. That's a positive step. That will ultimately improve the national team," he said.
Gregory, a former Aston Villa manager, heaped praise on ISL.
"I believe ISL is growing quickly and back in England, I've seen how it started three years ago and now there is world wide interest in it. Also, I'm joining a club and following the footsteps of Marco Materazzi, who has done an amazing job here.
"He has left a big pair of shoes for me to try and fill.
But hopefully, I can bring success to this team," he said.
Asked how he would approach the team, the 63-year-old explained: "One thing I want is if you wear the Chennaiyin shirt, you have to give 100 per cent. You have to commit yourself completely to the team. That sort of players will get my support.
"I expect discipline and players conducting themselves properly on the pitch, and don't get involved with the referee or opposition."
The 2015 champions parted ways with Materazzi after a three-year stint following a moderate run in 2016, in which they finished seventh during the group stage.
Vita Dani and Abhishek Bachchan, co-owners of the team, felt that a change was desperately needed after a disastrous 2016 season.
"The last three seasons have been very memorable. The last one wasn't to our expectations and that is the reason we have John (Gregory) here. Looking at our framework, I'm sure John will add a lot of value to the club," Dani said.
Chennaiyin FC, who have retained two senior players in Jeje Lalpekhlua and Karanjit Singh, will only be able to enter the player draft in Round 4, owing to the fact that one of their Under-21 retainees (Jerry Lalrinzuala) already has an international cap.