The star performer for India in the recently concluded U-17 World Cup and Indian Arrows goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem has quit the I-League team in an attempt to pursue a career in Europe.
Dheeraj’s contract with the Indian Arrows, the developmental squad of the All India Football Federation, was until the 31st of December 2017. According to reports Dheeraj will be looking for a carer in Europe where a number of clubs like Motherwell FC of Scotland and Blackburn Rovers, Charlton Athletic of England. According to certain reports Premier League club West Ham United have also shown their interest in the 17-year-old Manipuri stopper.
Arrows coach Matos on the other hand doesn’t approve of his decision, “Around the players, there are a lot of agents and advisers who don’t know what is the process of development. I think the best for Dheeraj would have been to play the I-League and after I-League he could have taken a trial in Europe. It is different to appear for a trial with 15 games worth of experience under your belt as you will be more confident. If he signs for a professional club in Europe, he cannot play until next September as he is not 18 years-old. So these eight months he can only train without playing any competitive football. I don’t know who advised Dheeraj, but I hope to be wrong that perhaps this decision was not the best decision for his career.” stated Matos.
Matos does have a point about the limited game time on offer coupled with the fact that Dheeraj still has a lot of time to move abroad being just 17. Although the opportunity is huge, but what sticks out as a concern is the fact that will these clubs provide him ample opportunity to develop or will he just be used to expand the club’s market.