I-League club Gokulam Kerala has made it a habit to scout and sign local talents and 21-year-old Jithin MS is the latest Keralite to join their ranks.
The 2017-18 Santosh Trophy winner for Kerala team was the joint top scorer in that edition of the tournament, alongside KP Rahul who is also with the Malabarians this season.
Jithin, who excelled on the right flank for the state team two years ago, failed to make a single appearance for the first team at Blasters and the lack of opportunities forced an exit. Gokulam Kerala swooped in with an offer at the right time and the youngster did not have to think twice.
The Thrissur-based winger was the first Kerala-born player to be bought for a transfer fee when he joined Blasters from FC Kerala for 5 lakh INR but things just didn't work out for the youngster. After a season with the reserve team, he spent a few months on loan at Ozone FC in the following season in the second division. When he returned as a mid-season injury replacement after a prolific stint with the Bengaluru-based club, the situation at Blasters hadn't changed.
"I am happy now. I want to play in the I-League and make a name for myself. I couldn't play for Kerala Blasters, there were no opportunities there," Jithin told Goal.
He added, "I did not understand what happened there. I do not know what their intention was. I spent two years there without getting a chance. I couldn't show my potential."
Blasters head coach Eelco Schattorie had explained his exit by saying, "Jithin (MS) is a fantastic player but he is still very young. He is not the tallest, he is not the biggest, that makes it very difficult for him. Hopefully, he will get playing time outside so he can grow. I encourage young players but they have to bring something to the table, we are not a charity.”
At Gokulam, Jithin is hoping to make a comeback of sorts and he has already caught the eye with his appearances for the Kerala team under head coach Bino George in the Santosh Trophy matches which were recently held in Calicut.
"I wish to make a comeback this season. I played the Santosh Trophy again under coach Bino George and managed to do well. He is a very good coach, trains us well and gives us a lot of advice.
"The coaches from Gokulam spoke directly to Blasters and there was a loan offer or I could resign. I left the club and signed for Gokulam. I did that to get a chance to play.
I need to continue to work hard. I know the teammates here, there are familiar players in the squad," said Jithin MS, who will hope he can earn a spot in Fernando Varela's new-look team which is aiming for the title.