India U-22 goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to train with Wigan, thanks Al Habsi for helping him get his opportunity

The East Bengal custodian spoke to about how the chance to train with the Latics came about, while admitting a permanent deal is unlikely
As revealed on Sunday evening by India, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu is set for an almost week long training stint with English Premier League club Wigan Athletic.

Speaking exclusively to, the young Indian goalkeeper gave more details about how the opportunity came up for the trip to England.

The East Bengal keeper revealed: “Actually I met John Burridge during the derby clash between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan last season. He was immediately interested in me and told me he will help. Then he also met me in Dubai, where I had gone for the national camp and yet again met me in Oman, where he assured that he would arrange something for me.

“Then he introduced me to Ali Al Habsi, and it was a great opportunity (training at Wigan) that he helped me get."

The tall custodian is also under no illusion that a permanent deal in England is not possible, due to India’s lowly Fifa ranking, which makes getting a work permit to play there next to impossible.

Gurpreet stated: "To get a work permit, [India] need to be in the top 70, so even if it was a trial, it would not be possible for me to go there (on a permanent basis), but as a training stint it’s a great opportunity.”

Giving more details about his itinerary and the reaction of his present club, East Bengal, the former Indian Arrows keeper disclosed: “I am leaving on Wednesday (July 18) and coming back on July 24.

"My club East Bengal is happy. They know it is a good opportunity for me, as I shall get better training out there, which shall be helpful for me. When I go to England, I will be representing East Bengal and India.”

The keeper has also received advice from Subrata Paul, about what to expect during his stint with Wigan.

“Though I have not spoken to Wim Koevermans or Arthur Papas about this, Subrata spoke to me about the trip and gave me good advice, as he has had trials in Canada previously. He encouraged me to fully utilize this chance and told me about how it would be out there," he said.

Speaking more about his playing style, Gurpreet emphasized that he had a lot to improve on, in his bid to become a top class goalkeeper.

“I am still discovering myself as a keeper, so I don't know what my plus points are. But I definitely know my weak points. I think I am a bit slow, so maybe quickness and with the ball on my feet, I could improve,” he said.

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