Gurjant told me he saved his best for the final, says Junior Hockey World Cup winner Manpreet Singh
What's the story?
Young Indian midfielder Manpreet Singh, who was a part of the 2016 Junior Hockey World Cup-winning team, has said that Gurjant Singh, one of the scorers in the final, had planned his exploits for the tournament’s business end. Manpreet spoke exclusively to Sportskeeda ahead of the 2017 Hockey India League, where he will be playing for Dabang Mumbai.
Speaking about the Junior Hockey World Cup final, Manpreet said, “I was speaking to him (Gurjant) during the league stages and asked him about scoring goals. He told me that the best has been saved for the last and he will show that in the knockout matches. So when he scored that cracking goal in the final, I was not too surprised. Gurjant is a fantastic player and he had to come good.”
Speaking about the upcoming 2017 Hockey India League, he said, “I am really looking forward to playing in the league and want to put in a strong performance. There are a lot of international players in our team and you get to learn a lot from them. Since I am a young midfielder, I sometimes get a bit confused while encountering defenders and that is where their expertise comes into place.”
“The spirit in the team is electric and we are truly Dabang, just like the franchise. Playing and training alongside Olympians is good but spending time with them is even better. We eat together, joke together and laugh together,” he added.
In case you didn't know...
Indian hockey has flourished a great deal in 2016 and its progress culminated in the junior team winning the 2016 World Cup by defeating Belgium in the final. On their way to winning the 2016 Junior Hockey World Cup, India defeated Australia and Belgium in the semi-final and final, respectively.
Gurjant Singh scored an absolute screamer in the final to give his team the decisive lead, smashing the ball past the Belgium goalkeeper with an astonishing reverse hit.
The heart of the matter
Hockey India League 2017 is going to see a lot of these junior stars and much like the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been for cricket, the tournament will benefit youngsters a great deal. Players from Germany, Argentina, Netherlands and England will be playing in HIL and it promises to be a cracking tournament.
Manpreet also spoke about how winning the Junior Hockey World Cup has changed his life. “This is one of the best phases of my life and being junior world champions has made all of us popular on the national level,” he said.
Hockey India League 2017 could go on become the most popular edition of the tournament till date, given its growing popularity and how things are looking ahead. Youngsters like Manpreet and Gurjant are surely going to benefit a lot by playing alongside top class international hockey players.
Indians seem to have finally adapted to the modern-day fast-paced hockey and HIL 2017 could not have come at a more opportune time.