Gurpreet Singh Sandhu sets his sights higher

Mumbai: After a long wait Gurpreet Singh Sandhu made his international debut last year against Iran and has since made the number one spot his own. On July 1, he made history by becoming first Indian player to start in Europa League while representing Norwegian club Stabaek.

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu

“I never thought I would be at this point right now. It was a dream come true for me to play in Europa League. I feel very lucky to have opportunity to represent India at this level,” he said at Andheri Sports Complex on Wednesday.

“National debut against Asian number one (Iran) remains the memorable night for me,” added Sandhu who had been training with the Indian team since 2010 but got his first chance with senior team in September last year.

Gurpreet however hasn’t played much since the Europa debut as he was injured and feels he is up for the challenge to get his playing spot back at Stabaek. He also insisted he is fully fit for Saturday’s International Friendly against Puerto Rico.

“Right now I am not really getting to play games in Norway. I was injured, two months ago and I was on recovery path for one month and two weeks. I lost the spot (to Sayouba Mandé of Ivory Coast). It is an uphill battle to get the lost spot back but I will fight for it and I will do it as I have done it before, I am up for the challenge. I am fully fit now and that’s why I am here,” he said.

Gurpreet also stated that he wants to graduate to a higher level after his contract with Spataek expires next year. “For me it is very important to challenge myself, I have achieved a certain point. My aim was to play for first team in Norway and I have done that, personally I want to go to better level and try play for higher clubs.

“At the moment I do feel good about myself. It is great for us to have an Indian playing outside India. That’s only way Indian football is going to improve if more players start playing outside. It will motivate youngsters,” he said.