Asian Cup 2011: Player Profile - Baldeep Singh

'Bikka'
Date Of Birth:06.02.1987
Position: Central Midfielder/ Right Winger
Club: JCT
Strengths: Work rate, Versatility
Weaknesses: Very one footed player, left foot not that strong
Trivia: Also known as Baldeep Singh Jr as there was a defender named Baldeep Singh, who was more experienced and thus was referred to as Sr. Baldeep Sr is back in JCT so once again the Phagwara based club will have two Baldeeps!

Baldeep got his early football lessons at Punjab’s Mahilpur Academy and spent two years there before joining the JCT Academy. Very soon he played his first professional game for JCT and has been there ever since. Baldeep started his career as a defender and even though now he is primarily regarded to be a central midfielder, the Punjabi lad is equally adept at playing as a right wingback or winger.

The 23 year old was a key member of the Punjab side that won successive Santosh Trophy titles in 2007 and 2008. He played one year for the India under-19 team and his impressive performances for his state side and at club level caught the eye of national team coach Bob Houghton as he earned a call up to the senior squad ahead of the 2008 SAFF Cup but was unfortunate to miss out because of injury.

However he was fit to be a part of the Portugal tour and then was included in the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup squad. Baldeep made his international debut in that tournament in the 1-1 draw against Tajikistan in a group match. That experience with the senior team helped in Baldeep’s development as he continued to impress in the domestic circuit while playing for JCT.

He was a key member of the 2009 SAFF Cup winning squad but was unfortunate to miss out on the final due to injury. 2010 has been a very positive year for Baldeep as he got his first international start in the 3-1 friendly win over Vietnam in Pune and also started in the 6-3 loss to Yemen. Bob Houghton didn’t use too many youngsters in the recent international friendlies, but Baldeep was a notable exception. Having made it to the final list of 23, Baldeep now will be hoping to get a start in the Asian Cup.


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