An Alisson Becker-like header is on Gurpreet Singh Sandhu's bucket list

Like German Manuel Neuer, who made the role of a sweeper-keeper fashionable, the giant Indian wants to help in building attacks
Last Updated : 17 May 2021, 12:13 IST
Last Updated : 17 May 2021, 12:13 IST

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Pulling off an 'Allison Becker' like header is firmly on Gurpreet Singh's to-do list but till it happens, the lanky India goalkeeper would leave the job to his more skilled skipper Sunil Chhetri.

Liverpool's Brazilian goalkeeper Becker's inch-perfect angular header off a corner kick in stoppage time led his team to a stunning 2-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion.

It is rare for goalkeepers to go on overlaps during dying moments of the game and one of the pioneers was Paraguayan custodian Jose Luis Chilavert, who had scored eight goals in international football.

"I just can't stop watching his (Becker) header again, and again. Maybe it just happened – the ball fell in place and out of pure commitment he glided the ball – and what a header. But if he is doing that regularly in practice, then we have to admit that he is extra special," Gurpreet told the-aiff.com.

Gurpreet has at times gone up, leaving his post unmanned to help his team in attack. While he is not desperate for a goal, he would like to grab it if an opportunity comes his way.

"Not that I am desperate to do it, and I hope that I don't have to do it ever. Obviously, there have been quite a few times that I have gone up for my club Bengaluru FC, and also during my stint with previous clubs," Gurpreet said.

"But if the team requires it as per the situation, who knows? But I would rather leave it to Sunil Chhetri. He is much better at it than me," he said in jest.

"I have to work on me attacking the ball, and on my heading. But I don't mind it," he smiles again. It's not just good hands, the modern-day goalkeeper needs to be good on feet which is Gurpreet's endeavour.

"Gone are the days when a goalkeeper was just a shot-stopper," Gurpreet, an Arjuna Awardee, adds.

"Personally, it was an exciting challenge to undergo the transition phase. When I started professionally, the trend was more to save shots.

"The first instructions which I received were to kick the ball back to where it came from. But it's changed now," the first Indian player to feature in a Europa League (for Norwegian side Stabaek FK) match said.

Like German Manuel Neuer, who made the role of a sweeper-keeper fashionable, the giant Indian wants to help in building attacks.

"The goalkeeper needs to initiate the attack, help the team build up on the possession. His distribution has to be impeccable. However, I am still a student of the game and working on the same. There is a long way to go," he expressed.

"And now I know, a goalkeeper needs to head it perfectly too," he laughs again.

Published 17 May 2021, 12:13 IST

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