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INTERVIEW: Ross County's Yan Dhanda, praised by manager Derek Adams lately, is eagerly awaiting a breakthrough rule-change that could see him star for India at international level


By Alasdair Fraser

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Ross County's Yan Dhanda gets past St.Mirren's Keanu Baccus. Picture: Ken Macpherson
Ross County's Yan Dhanda gets past St.Mirren's Keanu Baccus. Picture: Ken Macpherson

It is always good to feel wanted and Yan Dhanda is feeling the love from two managers – 5000 miles apart.

Ross County's creative force was immediately handed an influential role behind the main striker or strikers by incoming boss Derek Adams.

And when he checks his mobile messages, almost weekly there tends to be more managerial fan-mail in the inbox, all the way from Delhi.

The former Liverpool and Swansea City attacker is coveted by India’s international boss Igor Štimac.

Dhanda is of Indian Punjabi Sikh heritage through his father, but current national association rules prohibit players from overseas obtaining Overseas Citizen of India cards to play.

Ross County's Yan Dhanda gets away from Aberdeen's Richard Jensen. Picture: Ken Macpherson
Ross County's Yan Dhanda gets away from Aberdeen's Richard Jensen. Picture: Ken Macpherson

Štimac is working hard on securing a rule change on the player’s behalf and stays in regular touch with Dhanda, who is eager to play for India, with updates.

Meantime, the 24-year-old knows he has to keep shining for County.

“The India national team manager actually messages me quite often on WhatsApp and we speak," Dhanda revealed.

“He wants me to go over there and play for him. It would be massive for me to do that, to represent my country.

“It is still a work in progress, but there’s been nothing further forward at the moment. I’m hopeful.

Ross County's Yan Dhanda against St Mirren last month. Picture: Ken Macpherson
Ross County's Yan Dhanda against St Mirren last month. Picture: Ken Macpherson
Ross County's Yan Dhanda and George Harmon Bloch the way forward from Celtic’s Daizen Maeda in early November. Picture: Ken Macpherson
Ross County's Yan Dhanda and George Harmon Bloch the way forward from Celtic’s Daizen Maeda in early November. Picture: Ken Macpherson

“He really wants me to be part of his squad. He was Croatia manager before India and is quite a big name. He texts me quite a lot to keep me in the loop with what’s happening.

“He’s really pushing for it, so hopefully soon with the important games coming up there will be good news.”

Dhanda, who worked well with predecessor Malky Mackay, is relishing a fresh start under Adams.

“He’s been very clear in what he wants, especially with me. I know where he wants me and what he wants me to do," he said.

“I feel like he appreciates what I do for the team and I’ve just got to keep showing to him what I’m capable of bringing to the team.

“I’m looking to be as expressive in my play as possible and obviously create chances, scoring goals and assisting goals.

“I just need to keep doing that in matches, but the messages he is giving are so clear.

“I know what he wants from me.”

County, who suffered a postponement lay-off after travelling to Livingston at the weekend, could climb to joint seventh in the table if they win tonight.

“It is a night game, under the lights and these are really the best occasions," Dhanda explained.

Ross County's Yan Dhanda gets away from Kilmarnock's Liam Donnelly.
Ross County's Yan Dhanda gets away from Kilmarnock's Liam Donnelly.

“You have all day thinking about the game and rest, so by the time it comes, you just feel ready to go.

“Tomorrow we just want another three points to keep this run going.

“I’ve always said, apart from Celtic and Rangers given how big they are, there is nothing in the league.

“But the rest of the league, it doesn’t matter which name it is. Anyone can go anywhere and get a result.

“Us beating St Mirren, third in the league, proved that. We looked the much better team through the whole of the game.

“The week before, we should have beaten Kilmarnock.

“I don’t think it matters who we play outside the Old Firm. After Celtic and Rangers it is anyone’s league.

“The lads just have to believe that, because I do. If we believe that, we can go anywhere this season.”


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