Cornell Glen looks glum. He's tired and sleepy and mumbles something in the affirmative when asked whether he's still in a different time zone and the jet lag hasn't worn off yet.
Words like "opportunity", "challenge", "exciting" and "furthering my career" come up a lot in his early replies and even though he claims, at 31, he really wanted to come to India to ply his footballing trade, his eyes tell you he wished he were elsewhere at the moment.
Having only just landed in India as Shillong Lajong's foreign signing for the coming season, the ex-World Cupper from Trinidad and Tobago is the second Caribbean footballer after Dempo's Densill Theobald to sign up for India's I-League. The striker seems to easily fit the idea of the footballing nomad - one of the millions of professionals unafraid to try out their skills in the various leagues of the world.
Having played for a clutch of clubs in his home league of Trinidad and Tobago, Portugal and the US in a decade-long career, today he finds himself headed to India's northeast in a one-year stint helped by Libero Sports. Glen admits he doesn't know much about the nature of the game here. "It's going to be a challenge in terms of culture, it's going to be a challenge in terms of the style of play," he says. But like many of the faceless pros in the middling leagues of the world, there's a little back story to Glen too.
Not long ago, his working class national team had a brief brush with the swish set when they rubbed shoulders with the multi-millionaires of England led by David Beckham, the celebrity footballer who represents the other end of global football's spectrum.
At the 2006 World Cup in Germany, debutants Trinidad and Tobago, buoyed on by an opening draw against Sweden and clutching their burgeoning ambition close to their chests, ran England ragged in the group stages. Only late goals from Peter Crouch and Steven Gerrard saved England the blushes. But coming on as a substitute, Glen caught the attention as he ran rings around Ashley Cole. Asked if Cole would recognize him today, Glen breaks out into a laugh. "No," he says, "But it is a good story to tell. Everyone who has ever held a Trinidad and Tobago passport wanted to be part of the World Cup. We were lucky to be the generation that did it."
Despite knowing little about 'home' conditions here, Glen has an inkling of the developments in the Indian game today. It helps that as a West Indian, he is only too aware of the impact the IPL has had on their cricket and the cricketers.
"You do not know what you have until you give it a try," he diplomatically places the idea of the IPL-style football league in context.
"No international footballer would ever want to play only two months of a season. That would be effectively finishing off his international chances.
"Maybe the idea makes sense financially," he continues, adding, "But if a player gets injured playing a smaller league, no established club is going to accept that."