Manandeep Singh, who played for the Delhi Dynamos in the Indian Super League (ISL) last season, is set to undergo trials with Norwegian side Strommen IF, and is looking forward to following in the footsteps of goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. Manandeep, 22, missed almost six months of football, including the I-League 2014-15, following a back strain. However, having recovered, the Haryana forward is looking forward to his three-week trials with the Norwegian side, who play in OBOS-Ligaen – the league below the premier division in Norway.”I had this offer to go to Norway in January [this year],” Manandeep told the Times of India.
“I had offers to play in the I-League but I had to be honest about my injury. I am now fit and will strive to make it in Norway.”
The 22-year-old was injured in the closing stages of the ISL in the previous edition, where he made just two appearances, and didn’t get on the scoresheet.
Determined to make a comeback, Manandeep heads to the Scandinavian nation on Saturday.
The striker revealed that the deal was done in January, but he intimated Espen Olssen – the head coach of Strommen IF – about his injury, and the gaffer postponed his trials.
“The deal was done in January but due to my injury I couldn’t join. I informed the coach and he allowed me to give my trials later,” Manandeep told Goal.
Manandeep is also eager to make an instant mark in the first division Norwegian side, after Olssen told the striker that he was looking forward to having an “energetic forward” in their side.
“There are nine foreigners allowed in the squad, and the coach has told me that he is looking for a young energetic forward to add to his squad. I am hoping I can make this a permanent move,” the former Federation Cup winner with East Bengal added.
Gurpreet made headlines this year after the 23-year-old lanky goalkeeper made his debut for Norwegian side Stabaek in a friendly match against Follo Fotballklubb on 18 January. The Punjab custodian had joined Stabaek last summer.
He also became the first Indian footballer to play a professional senior game for a top division side in Europe, as he kept a clean sheet in his side’s 6-0 win against Runar in a Norwegian Cup game on 22 April.
However, if Manandeep gets selected to play for Strommen, he will not be in the same league where Gurpreet features (Tippeligaen – Norwegian top flight).
Incidentally, both were former teammates at East Bengal and are the best of friends.
Manandeep is also included in the ISL 2015 domestic player draft and will return to take part in the lucrative league if he gets picked up by a franchisee.