Midfielder Nguyễn Trọng Đại of Viettel is expected to shine in the coming time. Photo toquoc.vn
HÀ NỘI — After returning from injury, midfielder Nguyễn Trọng Đại took just 10 minutes to secure three points for Viettel three against Hồng Lĩnh Hà Tĩnh on Sunday, helping his team take top spot in the V.League 1.
Since the beginning of the 2019 season, when Viettel returned to the top-flight, the player from the northern province of Hải Dương has played a total of 1,730 minutes, equivalent to 19 out of the team's 43 matches in league.
The 23-year-old was once expected to be the captain of the national team and while his career hasn't quite hit those heights yet, Đại seems to have gotten back on track.
Leading U19s to World Cup
Đại was summoned to the national U19 team to participate in the AFC U19 Championship finals in 2016. In this tournament, he was captain and made a great contribution to the team’s achievement to reach the semi-finals, which won them a ticket to the FIFA U20 World Cup 2017 finals.
But before the World Cup took place in South Korea, Đại lost the captain's armband.
Coach Hoàng Anh Tuấn said he chose fellow midfielder Nguyễn Quang Hải to take over as skipper as he thought Đại had problems with his attitude and lifestyle.
From 2018 to now, Đại hasn't been himself. Coach Tuấn pointed out that he struggled with motivation and started gradually losing it after the AFC U19 event in Bahrain in 2016.
He was often given opportunities in national teams but didn't take advantage of them. During the 2018 AFC U23 Championship in which Việt Nam made history by finishing runners-up for the first time, Đại was in the squad but he didn't play a single minute. He didn't even make the final squad for the 30th SEA Games last year.
In Viettel's journey to win the V.League 2 in 2018, Đại didn’t contribute much because of injuries.
While Đại has only played eight league matches this season, since the resumption of play after the recent COVID-19 outbreak, the midfielder has shone.
Midfielder Nguyễn Trọng Đại (right) vies for the ball with a player of Sài Gòn in the V.League 1 this year. Photo toquoc.vn
Return of former U19 captain
After defeating Sài Gòn FC 1-0 in September, coach Trương Việt Hoàng said: “I gave the chance to Đại, and he's making good use of it. I think if Đại continues to compete well, he will soon be himself again. At this time, Đại is the best plan for the position of defensive midfielder."
Returning in the match against Hà Tĩnh on Sunday after his injury, Đại entered the field in the 59th minute and 12 minutes later, he scored a classy goal to help Viettel return to the top of the pile.
"Before the game, I hoped to start and when my opportunity came, I took it and tried my best. I was very happy,” said Đại.
“I have recovered after a long time of being injured. This will be an important time for me to show. Coach Hoàng used to say that the season was over for me. I thought that he aimed to change myself and wanted me to have a positive direction. I understood the positive messages in Hoàng’s words and I will try to change,” said Đại.
"From now, I won’t lose my form, I will definitely maintain and develop more,” Đại added.
Coach Tuấn, who put his faith in Đại, insisted that Đại had all the factors to become a great player including leadership, modern skills and intelligent play. Tuấn also said that if Đại had more motivation and desire, he would play even better. VNS