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Drag-flicker Gagandeep eyes Junior World Cup berth

Gagandeep Singh and Gurjinder Singh do make it a point to spend some time together after the training sessions in the evening

Written by Nitin Sharma | Chandigarh | Published: July 4, 2013 4:30:03 am

At the junior national camp at Bengaluru,former Chandigarh Hockey and Football Academy trainees Gagandeep Singh and Gurjinder Singh do make it a point to spend some time together after the training sessions in the evening. Both the players have their task cut out as the drag flickers in the camp and the youngsters seek each other inputs daily at the national camp. While Gurjinder scored six goals during the Indian junior team recent Europe tour,Gagandeep Singh also utilised the opportunity and fired three goals in six matches during the tour. A part of the Junior national camp,which is underway at Bengaluru in the preparation of Junior World Cup to be held in India later this year,Gagandeep expects himself to be in peak from when the tournament happens.

“It is great to have Gurjinder in the junior team as well in the camp. We have been playing together since our CHFA days and know each other’s game well. He has been one of the top rated drag-flickers in the junior circuit and spending time along with him benefits my game. He too seeks inputs from me and we both discuss a lot about drag-flicking skills. We have been attending the national camp since one week and the month long camp will also help us a lot,” shared Gagandeep while talking with Sportline. The Indian junior team during the last month’s Europe tour saw Gagandeep along with Gurjinder and skipper Amit Rohildas undertaking the role of drag-flicker by rotation and one of the highlights of the tour was 18-year-old Gagandeep’s brace against Netherlands during the tour. Apart from that,the defender scored one more goal against Germany and believes that the Europe exposure will boost his confidence ahead of the all important World Junior Cup.

“Playing in Europe is always tough and the weather conditions are also harsh. Teams like Germany,Netherlands and Belgium fielded almost the same players who will feature in the upcoming Junior World Cup. Foreign coach Greg Clarke spent a lot of time with us discussing various tactics and his inputs have helped us. Coach Baljeet Singh Saini understands our game well and he acts as a bridge between us and the support staff,” shared the lanky defender. Singh took to hockey at his village Bhadal Thua village near Sirhind under the guidance of coach Rajinder Singh Tiwana. On the recommendation of his coach,he joined the Chandigarh Hockey and Football Academy in 2007. He played a vital role in helping Chandigarh clinch the U-17 title at the 2009 National School Games. Two years later,Singh steered the Chandigarh U-19 team to the title in the 2011 School National Games. The youngster now plays from Haryana and featured in the the bronze medal finish of the state in last year’s junior nationals held at Lucknow.

Gagandeep will now be a part of the Indian junior camp till July 15 and expects to make the cut for the Indian team for the Junior World Cup. “I shifted base to Haryana last year. Drag-flicker Sandeep Singh has been in constant touch with me and shares his views with us. The coming months will be important for me as the Indian team for the Junior World Cup will be selected this year. We will be going to some international tours before the event and I want to impress the selectors during the coming months,” quipped Singh,who made his junior international debut in Sultan Johar Cup in Malaysia early this year.

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