Real Kashmir had finished third in the I-League last season - a dream debut for a club who had qualified to the top tier of Indian football from the valley for the very first time in history.
Under the tutelage of Scottish manager David Robertson, the Snow Leopards created quite a buzz by churning out some unbelievable results and in the end finished in the third position.
Robertson’s son Mason was also a part of the Real Kashmir team, playing a vital role in the team’s success.
Mason decided to stay back along with his father at the club for another season this year and the player is aiming to win the championship this time around.
Speaking to Goal, the 25-year-old defender said, “Yes we had a good season. Our main priority this year is to do better than last season, we finished third. We want to play well and we have got the right players in our team to do that.”
Mason started as a centre-back last season but as the campaign progressed, the Real Kashmir coach experimented by fielding him up front as a striker.
When asked if he was comfortable playing out of his natural position, Mason said, “I had played as a striker when I was in the United States. Then I went back to Scotland and played in the back four for two or three years. For me this season I just want to help my team and if it has to happen as a defender then I will happily play as a defender or if it’s as a striker then I will play as a striker.”
Real Kashmir have had an eventful pre-season this time around. They played the Durand Cup 2019 and reached the semifinal.
Mason said, “We had just started training only a few days before the Durand Cup. We didn’t get much time. But now we got three months of pre-season and the guys are really buzzing and ready to fight.”
Like many pundits and players, the Scottish defender considers Gokulam Kerala as firm favourites to win the I-League this season.
“It is very hard to select favourites. I-League is a very hard league so I think every team is very strong. But if I have to pick one name, it would be Gokulam Kerala after how they did in the Durand Cup. They did very well, they beat East Bengal and then Mohun Bagan. Marcus Joseph scored a lot of goals. They will be one of the contenders for the title for sure,” said the Scot.
On his equation with his father and coach David, Mason said, “On the field, he is my coach so whatever he says I follow that. Off the field, he is my dad and I share a different chemistry. I don’t want him to be my dad on the field because then he is my coach. I focus on my football when he is there. Outside the field again I got to his room, we speak to our family. On the field, it is extremely professional.”
The versatile player was all praises for his club and India as a whole.
Mason said, “When I came to India obviously I didn’t know the players but once I got to know everyone it was just an unbelievable experience for me. It has been great and if I have to come back to India again I would definitely do that. I love this club. The owners really support me, wherever I go, whatever I do they are always with me. They really take care of the entire squad.”