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I-League 2017: U17 World Cup star Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem not ready to play in Europe, says coach

5.63K   //    01 Jan 2018, 15:53 IST

Dheeraj Si

Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem

What's the Story?

The Indian Arrows coach Luis Norton de Matos expressed his displeasure with star goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem's decision to look for trials at European clubs on the eve of Indian Arrows' game against East Bengal.

In case you didn't know...

The Indian Arrows goalkeeper has already bid farewell to the I-League in hopes of pursuing his footballing career in England. Dheeraj had impressed one and all with his performance for India during the FIFA U17 World Cup last year, and is currently in talks with a number of foreign clubs like Premier League side West Ham United, as reported by Sportskeeda, earlier this week.

This is after Dheeraj was approached by David Moyes after his heroics in the U17 World Cup for India. Dheeraj has for trials at English League One club Charlton Athletic and MLS side Toronto FC too but West Ham United are the biggest clubs amongst the ones ready to give him a trial.

Heart of the Matter

However, Dheeraj's decision to leave the Indian Arrows for foreign trials did not really impress Matos, who made his opinion about the move clear, ahead of his side's game against the Kolkata giants.

"Don’t think Dheeraj is ready to play in Europe. It was not the best decision for him to make," said Matos, when asked about his former first-choice goalkeeper. "There are often many people around the players -- the agents who don't know what is the best move for the development of a player. The best move for Dheeraj is to play in the league."

According to FIFA, international transfers for players under the age of 18 are not allowed, unless their parents or wards are also moving to the same country. Matos said that this move wasn't the best for Dheeraj as he would only turn 18 in September, which means that he cannot play official matches abroad for more than half a year.

"Its different with Dheeraj. He cannot play in Europe until next September because he is not 18-years-old and he (will have to go) seven months to eight months without competition," said Matos.

What's Next?

It remains to be seen whether Dheeraj is able to successfully clear the trials of the foreign clubs interested in him. While West Ham would be a dream move for the 17-year-old, a club like Charlton Athletic would not be too bad either, as the lower league football in England is very well structured.

Author's Take

Although Matos' point is valid that Dheeraj is still pretty young to play overseas, a move to England might do him better than signing a contract with Indian Arrows. An example is another Indian goalie Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who had played for Norwegian club Stabaek.

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