Indian players in foreign leagues need to earn their place in the starting XI, admits Gurpreet Singh Sandhu

Indian players in foreign leagues need to earn their place in the starting XI, admits Gurpreet Singh Sandhu

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Gurpreet Singh Sandhu is the first Indian footballer to play in the Europa League



Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, one of the few Indian footballers to play professional football in Europe, stated that the scene in a foreign country is quite tough, with players needing to prove their potential before hoping to be in the starting XI. He feels many Indians are not ready to play abroad.

Not many Indians have had the opportunity to play in European leagues, but Gurpreet Singh Sandhu not only featured in the Norwegian top-tier league for Stabaek FC but also made an appearance in the Europa League for the Scandinavian club. A lack of playing time forced him to fly back to India, with him now a mainstay for Bengaluru FC over the last three seasons. The custodian admitted that his stint in Europe gave him the exposure which helped him grow as a footballer. But, on a serious note, Gurpreet stated that playing in a foreign country is quite tough, with the footballers needing to prove their eligibility before hoping to get their name on the starting XI list.

"I think it made me better by leaps and bounds as a player and in terms of mentality. It made me independent. The exposure didn't only help me as a player but made me tougher as a person. It makes you a person who can deal with every kind of situation. There are a lot of sacrifices which one needs to make to achieve the desired results,” said Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, during an Instagram chat with AIFF.

"I don't want to sugarcoat things. Some people think that playing in a foreign country is about having a lavish lifestyle, big house, good car. It's not that at all. You have to start from scratch. You have to prove that you are good enough to be on the bench and then in the starting XI. And that's at a smaller club in a smaller league -- unless you're a Messi or a Ronaldo," added the footballer.

Sandhu feels that many of the footballers in India do not know the reality of playing in a foreign country. The players have to be mentally strong and stay there to get acclimatize to the conditions, but many are not willing to make the sacrifices as they are more comfortable in India.

"But for guys like me -- you have to be mentally strong to stay there and work. Many people don't know the reality. If you want to do well, you need to acclimatize to those conditions. Many younger players may not want to make the required sacrifices as they are comfortable in India," concluded the Indian goalkeeper.

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