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India’s U-17 WC star Dheeraj leaves for Scotland

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Mumbai: His confidence bolstered after a stint with former England goalkeeper David James, India's U-17 custodian Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem left for a trial at Scottish Premiership club Motherwell FC.

His training sting started  yesterday. Dheeraj, who manned India's post at the FIFA U-17 World Cup at home last year, quit Indian Arrows, the All India Football Federation's developmental squad playing in the I- League, after the end of his contract on December 31.

And while Arrows' Portuguese coach Luis Norton de Matos was disappointed by his decision, a stint with James at Indian Super League (ISL) franchise Kerala Blasters has been encouraging. According to Dheeraj's agent Anuj Kichlu, the 17-year-old goalkeeper from Manipur will train with Motherwell FC's first time.

In case he manages to impress the coaches at Motherwell FC, Dheeraj will still have to wait till July, when he turns 18, to obtain an international transfer.

Motherwell's interest in the Indian goalkeeper grew after his impressive showing at the U-17 World Cup. Dheeraj's trial in Scotland is expected to be for three weeks.

Must improve young talent to promote grassroots football: Hood
New Delhi:
The promotion of grassroots football works best when all stakeholders focus on improving the quality and quantity of young talent by working hand-in- hand with the national federation, feels AIFF's head of player development, Richard Hood.

The All India Football Federation last year launched the 'Baby League', a grassroots development programme that intends to involve greater participation from children starting as early as five years of age and centered as much around match- play as it is around skills development. "We have enjoyed a lot of success through our presentations to stakeholders in explaining the state of Indian football and the need to address the change from the bottom," Hood said.

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