Dheeraj Singh, India’s standout performer at last year’s FIFA Under 17 World Cup (the first FIFA tournament to be hosted by India) left for trials with Scottish first division team Motherwell FC on Wednesday, 7th February. The trials, facilitated by Singh’s agent Anuj Kichlu (who’s company, The Football Edge also manages ex Indian football team captain Bhaichung Bhutia) come shortly after Singh did not renew his contract with the All India Football Federation’s developmental side, the ‘Indian Arrows’. The goalkeeper, however, did represent the Arrows till 31st December 2017.
Having kept his fitness up by training with Indian Super League side Kerala Blasters for the last two weeks, (who’s head coach David James is a former England international goalkeeper himself) Singh impressed on the first day of his trial with Motherwell according to the club’s chief operating officer and director, Alan Burrows. Commenting on Motherwell’s motivations for having Singh on-board as a trialist on social media platform Twitter, Burrows said, “Dheeraj is only with us on the merits of his ability & if we try to sign him, it’ll be because we believe he’s good enough & see potential in him to develop. Anything additional is merely a byproduct – it’s only about how good a goalkeeper he is.”
Burrows also provided an update on Singh’s first day at training saying that he “did very well”.
Well, I can tell you that he did very well at training today! Not only that, he is a very nice young guy. So Day 1 was a good start! ??
— Alan Burrows (@Alan_Burrows) February 8, 2018
India lost all three of its group games at the U17 World Cup to USA (3-0), Colombia (2-1) and Ghana (4-0). While Jeakson Singh Thounaojam of Manipur created history in the second match by becoming the first Indian goal scorer at a FIFA World Cup across any level, Singh made a string of crucial saves in every game.
Couldn’t have asked for a better day one at @officialmotherwellfc. Such a warm welcome and so friendly! Thanks everyone for all the lovely wishes and encouragement✌? #MotherwellFC #Training #Scotland #UnitedKindom #DS01 #Repost @officialmotherwellfc with @get_repost ・・・ ? | Indian Under 17 international goalkeeper @dhee_singh01 is here on trial and already being put through his paces in training.
Singh was a part of the AIFF’s elite academy prior to being selected as India’s starting goalkeeper for the U17 World Cup. If Motherwell does decide to sign him, he would become only the second Indian player after national team goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to be on the roster of a first division club in Europe. Sandhu was in the Norwegian first division with Stabaek before he joined ISL side Bengaluru FC in 2017.