Goal.com caught up with the East Bengal striker who is part of the Goal.com Asian Best XI for September and also one of the nominees for the Goal.com World Player of the WeekManandeep Singh is on cloud nine right now. He was part of a trophy winning East Bengal side that overcame all the odds to take home the Federation Cup. For a 19 year old Manandeep showed remarkable maturity in the tournament playing alongside Edeh Chidi to form a devastating strike force that was a key aspect of East Bengal's triumph.
This was followed by his selection in the Goal.com's Asian Best XI for September where he was the only Indian to be selected alongside the likes of Frankfurt's Takashi Inui and Al Ittihad's Hamad Al Montashari. To add to this, he was also given an honourable mention in the Goal.com World Player of the Week which also featured Napoli's poacher Edinson Cavani, Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, Liverpool's Luis Suarez and Dortmund wonderkid Marco Reus.
"I'm very happy about my name being part of the Asian Best XI. I have to thank God for this success. I aim to keep working hard like this day in and day out. The feeling that you are being placed along top players like Cavani (in Goal.com's World Player of the week) is awesome", Manandeep told Goal.com.
The 2012 Federation Cup was Manandeep's second stint in the tournament. Earlier he had been part of the Pailan Arrows side, Indian Arrows as it was known then, in the 2010 edition. Manandeep then moved to Air India and had missed the 2011 Federation Cup through injury. But now he has made his mark in the competition with four goals that included a brilliant brace in the thriller against Kalighat MS which his side won 4-3 in a must-win situation.
|Manandeep formed a formidable partnership with Chidi|
Already capped at senior level for the Indian national team, Manandeep had only positive things to say about coach Wim Koevermans.
"He is a very good coach with plenty of experience. Every coach brings their own strategy to the teams they manage and I want to learn as much as I can from him," he said.
Manandeep also reserved a few words of praise to the East Bengal gaffer Trevor Morgan who helped him acclimatize to the Red and Gold instantly after having joined them over the summer.
"Morgan sir is a very accomplished coach and for a young player, it is essential that I learn from such experienced people."
|Time to learn under Wim|
When asked for his opinion about the feeling that coaches in the I-League often prefer foreign strikers over the Indians,all Manandeep had to say was: "I think that opinion is very harsh. I don't believe that is true."
Manandeep praised Sunil Chhetri, who made his debut in the Portuguese second division playing for Sporting Clube de Portugal's B side a few days back, and added that he hopes to emulate the same in future.
"He (Chhetri) is a great player and deserve to be where he is. The road to that is hard and I want to achieve that by taking one step at a time", said Manandeep.
European leagues are the one of the most widely followed around the world. When asked about his favourite club Manandeep said, "I like watching Manchester United play. It's always fun to watch when they take to the pitch. I admire Rooney a lot. He is all over the pitch. Sometimes defending, and other times creating attacks or scoring goals. He's the type of player I want to be for my team (East Bengal and India)."
|Role model: Wayne Rooney|
Manandeep will be in action in East Bengal's I-League opener when they travel to Goa to take on Sporting Club de Goa on October 7. If he can replicate his Federation Cup form in the domestic league, India may very well have their own Wayne Rooney.
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