May 27, 2021 2:38:24 pm
Dheeraj Singh is ready to learn the tricks of his trade from senior goalkeepers Gurpreet Singh and Amrinder Singh as he seeks improvement in “various areas” to establish himself in the Indian national team.
Dheeraj is one of the three goalkeepers — along with Gurpreet and Amrinder — in the India squad which is training here ahead of the joint 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup Qualifiers beginning on June 3.
“It is an honour for me to get this opportunity at a young age. We have Gurpreet paji and Amrinder paji and I am looking forward to learning lots of things from them — both on and off the pitch,” Deeraj told AIFF TV.
“I am very young and have lots of areas that I have to improve upon,” said the 20-year-old who had earned accolades for his impressive show under the FC Goa bar in the recent AFC Champions League matches.
The 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cupper and former Indian Arrows custodian, who received his first Blue Tigers call-up in November last year, recollected his welcome to the national team ‘family’ and explained how he has been learning from his seniors.
“I still remember when I got the first call-up for the senior national team – they (Gurpreet and Amrinder) congratulated me and the team welcomed me like a family member,” said Dheeraj who is yet to earn his senior India cap.
“They keep motivating me, help me rectify my mistakes during training and tell me what to do and what not to do. It is something very important and a huge learning for me.”
He spoke about the strength and depth of the Blue Tigers’ goalkeeping department, terming it as a ‘tough competition’.
“Honestly speaking, we have very good goalkeepers in India in the senior national team and the leagues. We have most clubs playing with Indian goalkeepers domestically.
“It’s a very tough competition and a tough challenge for me and for every goalkeeper as they (senior goalkeepers) have set benchmark for us to try and reach. I am working for that chance and know that I have to use the coming opportunity in the best way.”
He said for a goalkeeper, it’s important to play regularly to gain confidence.
“Training and playing matches are totally different. When you play games, you learn a lot of things and there are many unique situations that come up in the matches.
“It’s a good experience for a goalkeeper to keep on playing matches consistently,” Dheeraj signed off.
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