NEW DELHI: India's first-choice goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh today expressed confidence that the hard work he has put in and the sacrifices he made will be rewarded in the form of impressive performances in the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
The marquee tournament starts October 6, and the Manipuri boy is excited to be a part of India's first-ever World Cup team.
"All my days of sacrifice and hard work will be rewarded and I am very much excited to be a part of the first Indian team to feature in a FIFA World Cup," Dheeraj said three days before the start of the tournament.
Dheeraj, who hails from Moirang in Bishnupur district, said he prefers to strike a balance between aggressive goalkeeping and composed goalkeeping.
"You have to pick your moments and choose what type of goalkeeping will suit the moment. Sometimes the aggressive goalkeeping can lead to difficulties and even conceding a goal whereas composed goalkeeping could work and vice versa. For a goalkeeper, both ways of goalkeeping are important."
Asked how tough is a goalkeeper's job, he said, "Staying in the moment is the job of a goalkeeper and a slight lack of focus or concentration can easily lead to a goal.
"Goalkeepers are the last barriers and it makes the job all the tougher when there is a pressure of performing in every single game associated with it."
India will be up against some of the top teams in the world, but Dheeraj is prepared for the challenge.
"It is a challenge that I am prepared for. We respect our opponents but as a goalkeeper, it is my job to be the hardest barrier the opponents face and I will try to be the hardest barrier that they will ever face in scoring a goal."