It has been quite the eventful last year for talented Goan midfielder Glan Martins. The 27-year-old made the switch from Churchill Brothers to the Indian Super League with ATKMB in 2020 but things didn’t go quite as well as both parties had hoped. Martins would start just 3 games in the first half of the season and it was becoming evident that a change in scenery was needed for the midfielder. That change would come in the form of a switch to FC Goa in mid-season and it was with the Gaurs that Glan truly flourished. A slightly different role on his new team resulted in an uptick in his performances, which culminated with him being called up to the Indian National Team for the World Cup Qualifiers. So, what exactly changed for Martins? How did he go from being a bit-part player at ATKMB to a regular for FC Goa as well as the Indian team? Let’s have a look.
Passing Zones and Role
We first decided to have a look at the areas where he was passing the ball by dividing the field into 18 zones. A percentage-wise breakdown of the passes in each section revealed that Martins operated centrally a lot more at FC Goa. He played more passes through the center in the middle third than when he was playing in ATKMB as we can see down below.
It helped Martins be more of an offensive threat from midfield for Goa, as evidenced down below. He exponentially increased his offensive output for the Gaurs post the switch, as he didn’t have a single goal involvement in his time with ATKMB
With the national team, Glan had a similar role of sorts to the one he had at ATKMB, playing a bit more out wide in a withdrawn role, than in the center as evidenced by the passing percentages down below. His attacking involvements as a result of it go down again but it is still more than what he had at ATKMB and we’ll get to that a bit later.
A major difference for Martins when he plays for FC Goa as opposed to ATKMB and the Indian team is that while he starts off in a deep central role for Goa, he is given the freedom to move forward. He does so by taking advantage of the space created by midfielders like Alberto Noguera, who operates higher up the field. This helps Martins have a greater impact on the game as this is a role he is very comfortable in, having enjoyed success at Sporting Goa by doing the same. With ATKMB and the National team, however, there was no one really for the most part who can create space for Martins to excel. Here are some instances at FC Goa that we’d like to highlight.
A deeper look at his passing also reveals how he was much more involved in the attacking phase of the game for Goa than for ATKMB. His passes for the latter were predominantly to the defensive players except for Roy Krishna, while at Goa he was combining a lot more with the other two midfielders in Edu Bedia and Noguera.
With the national team, Martins started the games as a defensive midfielder which significantly restricted his attacking involvements in the early stages of the action. We see him combining with the backline for the most part here.
But as we mentioned earlier, we saw that in just those 3 games with India that he was involved more in the central attacking third than in his entire stint with ATKMB. This was because his role did change as these games went on and when it did, India had success offensively. Lalengmawia’s introduction for Brandon against Afghanistan in the 63rd minute gave Martins the license to move forward and 12 minutes later, India would score. Against Bangladesh, he started as the sole defensive midfielder but once Brandon joined him in the 2nd half and allowed him some freedom to go higher up the pitch, India managed to find the back of the net twice.
If we compare Glan’s performances in detail, it is evident that once he started playing a more attacking role, his performances have improved. His passing accuracy, total passes/90 and successful passes/90 data have shot up after he started playing a more advanced role. Also as a by-product of it at Goa, he scored his first goal and registered his first assist as well. The confidence in Glan and a great understanding of his players helped Juan Ferrando improve his teams’ performances last season and eventually make the playoffs. The decision to start playing Glan deep in the defensive third and then making the move forward as the midfielder who plays at the top of the triangle helped to improve his performances once he switched to FC Goa and the sky now seems to be the limit for the man from Goa.
Analysis by our Football Analyst Expert Aswin K
Pic Credit – Indiansuperleague.com