STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

After Europa League experience, Gurpreet continues to make Indians proud in Norway

Published: 01st September 2016 04:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st September 2016 04:41 AM   |  A+A-

Gurpreet

MUMBAI: Having become the first Indian player to play in the Europa League in June, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu is happy breaking new ground abroad. Though the Indian Super League has brought in money, glamour and popularity for the game in the country, the 6’4” tall goalkeeper would rather practice and hone his craft in the faraway Norwegian League with his club Stabaek.

“I still believe playing in Europe is a better choice,” said Gurpreet, who will vie with Subrata Paul for a spot in the goal when they take on higher-ranked Puerto Rico in a friendly game in Mumbai on Saturday. The 24-year-old from Chandigarh signed with the Norwegian side in 2014. He started in goal for Staebek in their Europa League clash against Connah’s Quay Nomads in Deeside Stadium, Wales.

“It is better for me as a player, and will help India and Indian players to motivate them to play in Europe. That’s where we want to be, not in India.”

While his big build automatically gives him a bigger presence than India’s goalkeeping mainstay for a few years, Paul, Gurpreet’s exploits in Europe are also set to give him an edge. The facilities and detail to training gained in Norway, has seen the promising player blossom.

“The difference is the weather, the atmosphere (for football) is a bit better. The players you play and train with are of better quality, that helps you raise your level,” he said in Mumbai on Wednesday. “That’s the main difference, there’s not a lot of difference in the intensity.”

The goalkeeper recently met with the India U-17 squad, the best junior talent assembled for the U-17 World Cup to be held in India next year, in Pune and believes that the sooner they get access to a European football set-up the better.

“Thats the only way Indian football  can progress, with more players playing outside India. If the (current U-17) players are willing to try, I think every single one of them has a shot.”

Gurpreet’s contract with the Norwegian side runs out next year, and he is aiming higher: better league, better club. But coming back to India, even if Indian football is re-structured to a three-tier League with the ISL at the top of the pyramid, is not on the radar for now.

 deeptipatwardhan@newindianexpress.com

Stay up to date on all the latest Sport news with The New Indian Express App. Download now

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp