News Live Scores
Bayern München

Who is Sarpreet Singh? The Kiwi star taking Bayern Munich by storm

02:00 GMT+4 15/08/2019
Sarpreet Singh Bayern Munich
This young midfielder's rapid rise is turning plenty of heads back home and in Germany

From New Zealand to India, Sarpreet Singh has quickly become a household name after signing for Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich

The 20-year-old was initially expected to play for Bayern's reserve side in the German third division after being signed from A-League club Wellington Phoenix. However, the pacey attacker quickly caught the eye of senior head coach Niko Kovac in pre-season and was initiated into the first-team with a comical rendition of Justin Bieber's 'Baby'.

As the surname suggests, Singh's parents are Indian but he was born and raised in New Zealand, where it was the round ball and not a rugby ball that he grew fond of.

That affection clearly went both ways too, with the slender Kiwi named the most valuable junior player at the Australian National Futsal Championships in 2010.

At just 10 years of age, it was clear Singh’s football skills were something special - with his mother revealing Everton even expressed interest in him at the time.

"He has a natural ability for it. He plays other sports at school but he enjoys playing soccer the most," Sarbjit Singh told the NZ Herald in 2010. 

"They (Everton) have asked us to send a video of Sarpreet playing. But I'm not sure whether he would be playing here or overseas, and we want to keep him here with us until he's a bit older."

Rejecting the lure of England - despite the fact Singh's walls were plastered with Chelsea posters as a child - the talented youngster honed his skills with local Auckland club Onehunga Sports under the guidance of former J-League player Hiroshi Miyazawa.

In 2015, Singh would be handed a golden ticket to join the Wellington Phoenix academy after being awarded a scholarship funded by West Ham defender and fellow Kiwi Winston Reid

Playing for Wellington in the A-League is the domestic peak for any New Zealand footballer and Singh would scale that mountain at just 17 years of age after coming on as a substitute against Melbourne City in 2017.

Handed a first-team contract not long after his cameo appearance, the teenager would score a stunning goal on his starting debut in early 2018. The Wellington coach at time, Darije Kalezic, was immediately impressed by the attacker's abilities.

"I said last week that it’s time for natural selection...Sarpreet is one of those players who grabbed the chance with two hands," Kalezic said.

"He scored a beautiful goal and delivered a great job in 67 minutes. Sarpeet is the player who is going to start even if everybody is fit."

At just 18 and suddenly a starter, Singh ended the 2017-18 season with two goals in the final round to end the campaign as the club's second highest scorer - despite playing just 11 games.

He showed no signs of slowing down in the following season either, with former Manchester United goalkeeper Mark Bosnich rating his performances higher than those of Japanese star Keisuke Honda.  

"I think he’s the best player in the A-League right now,” Bosnich said in December 2018.

"Best player, right at this moment in time after this weekend's games. I would have said Keisuke Honda if it was last week but after this week, he’s absolutely number one. A joy to watch."

Singh also quickly made a name for himself at national level as he made his debut for New Zealand in March 2018 and scored his first goal a few months later against Kenya.

After playing a key role as the Kiwis reached the knockouts at the 2019 U-20 World Cup in Poland, clubs very quickly began circling for Singh. And it was German giants Bayern who surprisingly swooped for the 20-year-old. 

"It's pretty difficult to turn down an offer from Bayern Munich," Singh said. 

"I was in Australia when my agent phoned me and I was extremely happy when I heard the news that Bayern were interested in me. It showed me that my development has gone beyond the A-League and it gives me the strength and motivation to go further." 

Providing an assist on his debut for Bayern's second team and scoring not long after, Singh gave Kovac no choice but to include him in the first-team's pre-season plans. 

From playing against local clubs in Auckland to taking on Arsenal in the United States, the young Kiwi's rise has been a phenomenal one. 

After making his first-team bow against the Gunners, Singh would make subsequent appearances against Real Madrid, AC Milan and Tottenham - with the midfielder even converting a spot-kick against Spurs in a penalty shoot-out. 

Singh’s performances impressed Kovac, who believes he is ready to step up to the Bundesliga this season. 

"I think that (Singh) was a really good acquisition," Kovac said. 

"Singh is someone who was originally planned for the second team but what he showed in America and in the two games at the Audi Cup in Munich proves that he is a lot further [along] than some of the other players in the second team. So without a doubt he will get the opportunities. 

"I'm very happy with him and I'm surprised. I'm positively surprised and I'm happy about his development." 

Though Singh will have to fight tooth and nail to play this season for Bayern's first-team, the young Kiwi has shown he is capable of doing so. And he will certainly have all of New Zealand and India cheering him on!