Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has revealed that new coach Igor Stimac's style of play has him functioning more as an extra outfield player on the pitch rather than a generic goalkeeper like before. The Indian custodian added that he feels honoured to have been bestowed with the prestigious Arjuna award.
The Indian football team has had a mixed bag of results ever since the appointment of new coach Igor Stimac who took over from Stephen Constantine post the AFC Asian Cup disappointment. However, the national team has shown signs of promise, especially with some fresh influx of young talent in the form of Narender Gehlot, Anirudh Thapa, and others.
The change in style of play has affected the players in the team and Indian custodian - Gurpreet Singh Sandhu - is a testament to that. The former Stabæk FC keeper added that he has been employed in the same role that Manchester City's Ederson Moraes is used as under Pep Guardiola.
"A keeper isn't only required to be quick and agile these days. He needs to read the game well. You can do that if you are in a good space physically and mentally. The best way of goalkeeping is to avoid situations where a striker might have an advantage over you. That's why game reading is very important so that you can communicate with your defenders and alert them of a potentially dangerous situation.
"I'm no longer just a goalkeeper but I serve as an extra player. So I need to be really good with my feet and focusing on improving my foot work. I have been watching videos of Germany's Manuel Neuer and Manchester City's (Brazilian 'keeper) Ederson who have mastered this style, " Singh was quoted as saying by TOI sources.
Singh, who plays for Bengaluru FC alongside veteran forward Sunil Chhetri, further added that he is proud to have been bestowed with the Arjuna award which is one of the highest sporting awards that an Indian athlete can receive.
"I am thrilled and honoured to get the Arjuna. I want this recognition to serve as an inspiration to everyone playing the sport in the country. My joy will then be complete. For now, my focus is on World Cup qualifiers. We did well in Asian Cup because we were fearless. In the qualifiers, we need to show we are no pushovers. If you show any signs of weakness they would hurt you. It will be demanding but we have to play as a unit because having a good start is important," added Gurpreet.
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