Exclusive: FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 hero Dheeraj Singh to train with Kerala Blasters
Written by: Ali Shibil Roshan
The shot-stopper will undertake European trials in February.
The India U-17 national team made their mark in the FIFA U-17 World Cup in the recent edition, when the country hosted the biennial event. Despite bowing out of the tournament with no wins, the young colts displayed a dazzling performance throughout and the players, goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh, in particular, won the hearts of millions of Indians and many international football scouts.
Dheeraj Singh, who recently appeared for the AIFF's developmental team Indian Arrows in the I-League has been receiving plenty of offers from European and North American sides, but the player will start training with Indian Super League (ISL) outfit, Kerala Blasters until he gets his European visa, sources close to the developments have told Khel Now.
Scottish Premiership side Motherwell, English League One outfit Charlton Athletic and MLS champions Toronto FC are all keen on the shot-stopper. Premier League side West Ham United FC has also enquired about him
Dheeraj had a previous offer from Blasters, but he opted to join the Arrows' squad and is planning to attend European trials, but he hasn't yet received his visa yet.
It is also reliably understood that Dheeraj Singh would join the squad, and would start training tomorrow (11-1-2018). With experienced goalkeepers like Paul Rachubka, and Sandeep Nandy in Blasters' roster, the keeper will have a golden opportunity to learn and improve.
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The youngster will sign for Blasters, if he fails to cement his place at any of the European clubs, sources close to the player have said. He also had offers from 8 Indian Super League clubs, before joining Indian Arrows.
Dheeraj is the new poster boy of Indian football, and his performances for both Indian U-17 side in the U-17 World Cup and for the Arrows were exceptional. He also performed well for India U-19s in the recently concluded AFC U-19 Championship qualifiers.
Dheeraj recently rejected AIFF 3 years deal to sign with Indian Arrows to explore options in Europe.
"It didn't make sense for Dheeraj to be tied down by another contract for three years (by the AIFF). He wants to trial abroad and try his luck on foreign soil," his agent, Anuj Kichlu, told TOI.
However, he will travel to Europe and train for a while, before attending the Motherwell FC trials and his decision to opt to train with Blasters is a part of his plans. He won't be able to play for David James' side, unless he is registered or bought officially.
Published: Thu Jan 11, 2018 01:27 PM IST