Mumbai: Football is more about mental toughness than mere physique and India needs to produce players with more mental strength to be a successful football nation, says legendary Liverpool striker Ian Rush.
"Many people believe that to be successful in football, you have to be large but Lionel Messi is small as well. It`s more about mental toughness and mental strength that`s needed to survive in the English game. Whether India can produce any of them is what it`s all about," the Welshman said.
"India also needs someone to look upto. Look at (South Korea`s) Park Ji-Sung. He is a hero in Korea and an inspiration. Indian could do with someone like that," he said.
The 50-year-old, who scored 346 goals in 660 games for Liverpool and 28 in 73 international appearances for Wales, felt a striker should not be scared to take chances at the goal-post.
"To be confident you have to score. If you are not confident you cannot score goals. Some strikers are scared and don`t take chances. I feel a striker should not be scared to miss chances. On a good day you will score goals, on a bad day you will miss. You should not lose confidence on such days."
Rush, who was in the city to conduct a coaching clinic for kids while commenting on the pressure to score faced by the likes of Portugal`s Christiano Ronaldo and Messi said those who enjoyed the game never felt such things.
"If you enjoy doing it, you don`t feel any pressure. I`m sure (Christiano) Ronaldo and (Lionel) Messi love playing football, and entertain the crowd. That`s what I used to do and that`s what they do. It`s all a matter of going out there and enjoying yourselves," he said.
"Ronaldo and Messi not scoring for three matches is called a crisis. But they have come out and given the best possible answer by scoring goals. It`s just that they have scored so successfully that such questions arise. But as long as the team is winning and you are contributing, I don`t think there is any problem," he added.
Rush, who was signed by Liverpool in 1980 for the then British transfer record sum of 3,00,000 pounds for a teenager, said he had considered moving on from the club as he felt he was not getting enough opportunities under then coach Bob Paisey.
"You need time to settle in. That`s what it is all about. For the first six months, it is very difficult. Once you settle everything is fine," he recounts.
"In the couple of chances I got I didn`t score. The manager got peeved. I thought I had to be a little selfish. I was lucky to get a chance due to injury to others. I took the chance and scored three goals. I got another chance and scored two more goals. Scoring the goal gave me the confidence to be competent," he added.
Rush feels that the current Liverpool squad should be given some time before expecting results from them.
"Well I think they got the right manager now. They are not winning titles but they are not having troubles on the field. New owners have come in and have given the manager money to spend and time to build the team. We have got the right owners, right managers, players now need some time. “
“People need instant success but that doesn`t happen. In the next two years, success may follow.”
"We finished sixth (in the English Premier League) last year. We need to finish higher than that this year. If we do that we can say the side has progressed. In the next 2-3 years, we expect them to qualify for the Champions League," he added.