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Bharat FC signs their second international player Robert ‘Bobby’ Hassell

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Pune (Dec. 03, 2014): Bharat FC announced the signing of their second international player, unveiling defender Robert ‘Bobby’ Hassell for the 2014-15 I-League season. Hassell will join the Pune-based club from Barnsley FC, England. Bharat FC will participate in its inaugural I-League season, scheduled to start on the 17th of January.

Hassell, 34, can play in a variety of positions across defence and the midfield. Having begun his career at Mansfield Town in the 1997-1998 season, he made 164 appearances for his club scoring three goals. In 2004, Hassell moved to Football Championship side Barnsley FC. It was at Barsnley FC that Hassell blossomed, going on to make 270 appearances over a ten-year stint from 2004-2014. He also scored eight goals over these 270 appearances.

The 34-year-old can operate at right-back as well as centre-back. During his spell at Barnsley FC, Hassell has also been deployed in a holding midfield role. A strong no-nonsense defender, Hassell earned a name for himself with his consistent performances in his first full season for Barnsley FC in 2004-2005. Making 43 appearances over the season, Hassell established himself as a defensive regular. A fan favourite at Barnsley FC, Hassell was named the club captain for the 2011-2012 season.

Kunal Agarwal, Director at Bharat FC, said that it was Hassell’s experience and versatility as a player that made the club sign him. “Bobby gives us a lot of options with his proficiency in both defence and midfield. He has over 450 appearances to his name in England and the youngsters at the club can definitely learn a lot from him. His calm nature and inspirational presence will also be invaluable as we aim to start strongly in our first season,” he said,

Stuart Watkiss, head-coach of Bharat FC believed that with Hassell’s addition, the team had a defensive fulcrum around which he could construct his squad. “I have seen Bobby play in the Championship for ten years on a very consistent basis. There is no question about his quality and after having spent so much time at a very high level, I believe that he can transfer a lot of knowledge to the younger players in the team. Bobby’s vast experience allows him to read the state of the game really well. With a very cool head on his shoulders, he will provide us the clarity of thought required to close out games,” said Watkiss.

Hassell himself said that when the chance to work with Stuart Watkiss came up, it was hard for him to say no. “I have worked with Stuart at Mansfield Town and I have complete faith in his coaching abilities. Bharat FC is a highly interesting project. It allows me to explore a new part of the world and contribute towards building an exciting team,” he said.