The Sunderland FC youth product revealed that ATK Mohun Bagan midfielder Carl McHugh also helped convince him…
British defender Peter Hartley has big boots to fill this season at Jamshedpur FC as the former Motherwell FC centre-back has been roped in by the club to replace their talismanic defender Tiri.
Tiri was a mainstay at Jamshedpur’s backline since the club’s inception in 2017 and has been one of the best defenders in the country in the past three seasons. This year though, the club parted ways with Spaniard who, after agreeing terms with Kerala Blasters, ended up joining ATK Mohun Bagan.
The 32-year-old Hartley is also a seasoned campaigner who has the experience of playing in the Premier League with Sunderland and Scottish Premier League with Motherwell.
The defender suggested that even though, he was close to signing a contract extension with the Scottish giants at the end of last season, the COVID-19 pandemic and a chat with Jamshedpur boss Owen Coyle convinced Hartley to move to India this summer.
“All of my career, I have played in England and Scotland and I have been successful in both. I finished third in the Scottish Premier League last season with Motherwell. They also offered me a new contract at Motherwell and then obviously due to the global pandemic, the club was hit financially and so was I.
“I wanted a new challenge personally. I got the opportunity to speak to Owen Coyle several weeks later. It was a fantastic conversation. Having spoken to him for 20 minutes on the phone, if he gave me the opportunity and if Jamshedpur gave me the opportunity, I definitely wanted to go there.
“I felt ambition in the manager’s voice. He told me about the football club and told me about what he is trying to build going forward. I definitely wanted to be a part of the club,” the English defender told Goal.
Hartley also revealed that ATK Mohun Bagan FC’s defensive midfielder Carl McHugh is a very close friend of his since their Motherwell days. He was in constant touch with the midfielder since last season.
McHugh spoke very highly of the Indian Super League (ISL) and also shared his experience in India which also played a major role in convincing the defender to move to Jamshedpur.
“During my second season with Motherwell, I played alongside Carl McHugh who is now in Kolkata with ATK Mohun Bagan FC. I am very close to Carl, probably best mates. I spoke to him quite a lot last season over the phone and he absolutely loved it in India. He loved the ISL, the football and the challenge.
“When you have someone already over here and speaking so highly about the league and when you speak to a manager like Coyle who has a lot of ambition, the decision to come here was very easy,” said the defender.
Hartley who began his professional career with Sunderland FC in 2006, played the majority of his career in England before moving to Scotland to join Motherwell in 2017.
The defender suggested that while he is really looking forward to moving out of Europe for the first time in his career, he is also aware of the challenges he could face in India this season.
“It will be a challenge but for me, personally the one thing that I take pride is in my fitness. I am making sure that I come over to India fit and as strong as I could possibly be. Any adaptation I need to make with regards to the humidity, with regards to the style of play of the new manager are some of the strings I need to add to my bow. But one thing I need to make sure is I have to be as fit as possible and ready to go for pre-season. Hopefully, I’ll have a positive and successful season.
“Personally it will be a tough mental challenge for me being away from my family. At the end of the day, once I am there the only thing that will be on my mind will be success. I need to make myself and my teammates grow and if we can do that as a unit. Hopefully, we will attain our final goal which will be the goal of every single team.”