India football coach Stephen Constantine indirectly suggested that Gurpreet Singh Sandhu made the right choice by moving to Bengaluru FC from Norwegian side Stabaek FC in search of regular first team action. The English coach who made the 25-year-old goalkeeper the first choice for the national team in 2016, felt the shot-stopper needed to play more to improve as a player.
"I think Gurpreet has made his decision and we should respect this. I think it was important for him that he goes somewhere where he’s going to play," Constantine said at a press conference in Mumbai.
"At Bengaluru, he will play. He did not start in Stabaek which was a concern for me and I told him last year that you need to be playing games if you have to go to the next level," he added.
Sandhu was out of favour in the Norwegian side and featured for just three league games in his stint there. The Indian saw a bit more cup action and featured in an Europa League qualifying game in 2016.
But as he approaches the peak of his career, Sandhu has decided to swap a place in an European league for a more regular role at Bengaluru FC who will be playing in the Indian Super League from the upcoming season.
"I think at Bengaluru if he gets 20-30 games under his belt in a season, he will be a better keeper for that. And then if he decides to go out after that, then obviously that’s his decision," suggested Constantine in a hope to see an improved Sandhu take his place in between the Indian sticks.
However, Sandhu will take no part in the national team's next assignment that sees The Blue Tigers take on Mauritius and St. Kitts in a Tri-nation tournament in Mumbai starting from Saturday. He will be busy helping his new side Bengaluru FC find a way past North Korean side 'April 25 SC' in round of 16 stage of the AFC Cup.
Constantine confirmed that none of Sandhu's Bengaluru FC team-mates will be a part of his squad for the triangular tournament.
India take on Mauritius in the tournament opener on Saturday at the Mumbai Football Arena.
Updated Date: Aug 18, 2017 21:21 PM