The last 18 months have easily been the toughest phase of Manandeep Singh’s career as the 21-year-old forward has had two surgeries in that period.
After recovering from ankle surgery last year, Manandeep looked sharp following his move to Shillong club Rangdajied United but suffered Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear during the Federation Cup and thus had to go under the knife again.
The lack of football in those 18 months didn’t dishearten Manandeep and instead the player has been determined throughout during his rehabilitation to make a full recovery. The Haryana lad also went to New York in the summer on his own expenses to do a part of his rehabilitation work there and is now a week away from full fitness.
During an exclusive chat with Sportskeeda, Manandeep revealed that the return of other great athletes from even more serious injuries kept him going and he was thankful to physiotherapist Jaideep Chowdhury for helping him get back in shape.
“I never gave up and always believed in myself to fully recover. Of course it was a little disappointing as I had just come back from injury and was playing well when I suffered ACL tear. But I realised that this is part of a sportsman’s life and many other greats have fought back despite repeated injuries.
“Like the great Ronaldo of Brazil had so many injuries but every time he bounced back in style. Examples like that inspired me and of course my physio helped me out a lot. There is still some work to be done but I am confident of getting back to my best once I start full training again,” he told Sportskeeda.
Two years ago Manandeep had emerged as one of the best strikers in India and won the FPAI young player of the year award, having finished as one of the joint top Indian scorers in the 2011-12 I-League. A big money move to East Bengal further enhanced the former Indian Arrows player’s reputation and soon he became a senior India international.
Manandeep has been out of the limelight recently but that hasn’t affected the player during his rehabilitation. His ultimate aim is to get back into the India national team but while recovering Manandeep was only focused on getting fit.
“Of course I have lot of aspirations in my career but during my rehabilitation I haven’t thought too much of specific targets and only stressed on getting fit. There are phases in your career when people forget you as you have been out of action but I am not too concerned about that. I will try to prove myself again when I get the chance,” he added.
But there was one announcement that gave Manandeep further motivation to have a speedy recovery as the former India youth international was picked up by Delhi Dynamos to play in the Indian Super League.
“I am thankful to Delhi Dynamos for selecting me and also grateful to IMG-Reliance for believing in me. They are very professional and have given me a big platform to showcase my talent,” he said.
When asked about the ways the ISL could help Indian football, Manandeep talked about the league’s potential to popularise the sport and local players all around the country.
“The first positive impact that the ISL will have is it will create new heroes in India. It is no secret that very few footballers in India are known to the masses so I am sure ISL will change that scenario as every match will be shown LIVE and the quality of telecast will also be great.
“More people will also be coming to the ground and especially for Delhi it’s great as finally the city will have its own team. It will be great to play in front of big crowds in Delhi and of course the added incentive is that we will be playing with and against some great international stars,” he concluded.Published 09 Aug 2014, 20:08 IST