Indian Football

De Matos blames agents after Dheeraj Singh leaves Indian Arrows for Scottish club trial

The Indian Arrows goalkeeper has opted not to extend his contract with the AIFF, and will not be appearing for the rest of this season’s I-League matches.

Indian Arrows coach Luis Norton de Matos is livid with goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh for deciding to trial for a Scottish club, calling it a wrong career move instigated by agents, who don’t understand what is important for the development of a youngster.

Norton is coaching the AIFF developmental side which comprises mostly of Under-17 World Cuppers and U-19 India players. Dheeraj has decided to try out for Scotland’s Motherwell FC but he will only be eligible to appear for trials once he turns 18 in September.

“At this level, around the players, there are a lot of people, agents and most of the times, these people don’t know or don’t understand what is important for development of a player,” De Matos said when asked whether Dheeraj has made the right career move.

“I don’t think it is the best decision for his career. I will be happy if I am proved wrong,” De Matos didn’t mince words about what he felt about U-17 World Cup goalkeeper’s career choice.

For the Portuguese coach, playing 10-15 I-League games would have helped Dheeraj grow more in confidence compared to what he will gain out of a trial for a European club.

“I think at their age, it is best to play the I-League, and after I-League, he could have gone for a trial. The AIFF is giving them exposure. The experience of 10-15 games would have given him more confidence than trials.

“In any case Dheeraj, won’t be able to play till September as per rules as he needs to be 18 years of age. So he will be out of competition for seven months,” De Matos explained.

That De Matos is unhappy with Dheeraj was understandable when asked if he would be missing the goalkeeper. “I don’t depend on one particular player,” was his curt reply.

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