Mumbai: India’s numero uno goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu is looking to move to better clubs in Europe, the Stabaek FC custodian said to the media at the Andheri Sports Complex, in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Sandhu became the first Indian footballer to sign for a European club, after joining Norwegian side Stabaek FC two years back. The 24-year-old went on to make further history, after he played for Stabaek in a Europa League qualifier, earlier this year. This made him the first Indian to play in the competition.
However, Sandhu now believes that it is time for him to move on to a bigger club. He said, “Its important for me to challenge myself. I have reached Norway. My aim was to break into the first team, and play there. Now (that I have got there) what? Personally, I would like to go to a higher level. Try at better clubs, better leagues.”
With just one year remaining on his current contract, this might just be the perfect time for Sandhu to make the other European clubs aware that he is looking for better opportunities.
However, Sandhu did take the opportunity to highlight how much his move to Stabaek has helped him grow as a player.
“I think I’ve been polished in all my skills. I’ve grown as a player in all aspects of my game,” he said. “The difference in the weather, the atmosphere…it’s a bit better over there. Its not so humid. And the second thing is that the players that you play with and train with are of such high quality, and that makes you raise your level as well.”
Sandhu all praises for Subrata Paul
The Stabaek goalkeeper may the No.1 for the Indian national team now, but veteran Subrata Paul has been manning the Blue Tigers’ goal for a long time now, which is why the latter recently received the Arjuna Award.
Sandhu was all praises for Paul, saying that he has learnt a lot from the senior keeper. “I’ve been training with Subrata Paul for such a long time. There are things that I’ve learnt from him, and the achievement that he has got, he deserved it (Arjuna Award). He deserved it before also. He got (it) a bit late, but I think it’s a very good thing that happened for him.”
'Current U-17 players better than what we were at that age': Sandhu
The Indian u-17 side has been getting a lot of foreign exposure, as they have been sent to Germany for training. The Indian Colts have won a number of matches against junior German sides. With the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup just around the corner, these exposure trips are important for the young players’ preparation.
When asked what he thought of the young colts, Gurpreet opined that they are better than what he was at their age.
“I think the boys (U-17 team) are really good. They are way much better than what I was, and my team was, back when we were U-16 or U-17,” said Sandhu.
“The mentality that they have is so good. They’re so tough. This would make them better, because I have said it before that Indian players need that mentality to play at a higher level.”...