Goalie Dheeraj Singh Chasing European Dream, Trials Expected with West Ham
Goal-keeper Dheeraj Singh Noirangthem — the star of India’s FIFA U-17 World Cup campaign — has bid farewell to the Indian Arrows squad and will not be renewing his contract with the AIFF. The current contract ends on December 31st and Dheeraj is keen on exploring his options in Europe or Canada.
India's Dheeraj Singh taking a selfie with fans in New Delhi during the FIFA U-17 World Cup (Image: FIFA)
Speaking exclusively to News18 Sports over the phone, Dheeraj’s representative Anuj Kichlu said: “Dheeraj wants to be based out of Europe and improve his own standards so that it helps him gain a call-up to the senior Indian team.”
Dheeraj who can’t play professionally or sign a contract with any team before he turns 18, is expected to try his luck at various clubs such as West Ham United, Charlton Athletic and Toronto FC.
“Dheeraj has been called for trials by the Scottish club Motherwell FC, and is in line for a five month contract if all goes well,” according to Kichlu.
His agent went onto add that even though the 17-year-old goal-keeper would like to be at Arsenal, all the offers would see him start out below the first team and would require him to work his way up to the main squad.
Dheeraj has been in stellar form since the World Cup and was instrumental in helping the Arrows hold mighty Mohun Bagan to a 1-1 draw in Kolkata recently. Dheeraj was also named the Man of the Match for his performance in between the sticks at the first ever I-League game to be played at the iconic Kolkata Maidan.
Dheeraj’s decision to move base will be a big blow to the Luis Norton de Matos coached side who play East Bengal at the Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi on January 2.
After the Mohun Bagan match, Dheeraj took to the social media to convey his message, saying: “Shared points against the mighty @mohunbaganac day before yesterday. This was my last match with the Arrows and a memorable day to finish off the year. Like always it has been an honor to play alongside such a wonderful & talented bunch of boys in Indian Arrows."
Shared points against the mighty @mohunbaganac day before yesterday. This was my last match with the Arrows and a memorable day to finish off the year. Like always it's been an honor to play alongside such a wonderful & talented bunch of boys in Indian Arrows. Finally, I would take this opportunity to thank my coach and the officials for giving me the opportunity and making me grow and mature as a footballer that I'm today. Cheers! #Indian_Arrows
“Finally, I would take this opportunity to thank my coach and the officials for giving me the opportunity and making me grow and mature as a footballer that I’m today. Cheers!”
After the FIFA U-17 World Cup, Dheeraj was considered to be the “find of the tournament” by Indian football legend and former captain Bhaichung Bhutia. The goalkeeper who conceded 9 goals in three games during the World Cup, received a lot of praise from all corners. Among them was Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar who said: “Great work by Dheeraj at the Goal Post! C’mon India… let’s win this one!”
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