Sardar’s presence will give motivation to other players, says Manpreet

Sardar, considered as one of the world’s best midfielders at one point of time, was dropped for the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, where India finished a disappointing fourth under Manpreet’s captaincy.

“Sardar is an immensely experienced midfielder. His presence in the midfield will give a lot of motivation to others. He has the ability to give long, skilful passes,” Manpreet said. (File Photo)   -  Getty Images

A team man to the core, Manpreet Singh has no qualms about losing the captaincy and feels that the returning veteran Sardar Singh’s presence in the middle will act as motivation for other players in the upcoming FIH Champions Trophy in Breda, Netherlands.

Sardar, considered as one of the world’s best midfielders at one point of time, was dropped for the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, where India finished a disappointing fourth under Manpreet’s captaincy.

But, the seasoned Sardar did not give up hope and fought his way back into the team for the Champions Trophy after impressing new chief coach Harendra Singh in the national camp.

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“Sardar is an immensely experienced midfielder. His presence in the midfield will give a lot of motivation to others. He has the ability to give long, skilful passes,” Manpreet said, before leaving for the Champions Trophy.

Sardar has been brought back to bolster the team’s midfield for the tournament, beginning June 23. Asked about India’s chances in the prestigious event, where it stood second best in the last edition, Manpreet said that the team is aiming for a podium finish.

But, he knows it is not going to be an easy task, considering the competitiveness of all the 16 participating nations. Manpreet was the captain of the Indian team in the Gold Coast Games, where things didn’t go according to plans for the erstwhile powerhouse of the game.

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“Commonwealth Games was not good for us. We missed far too many goals. Also, we converted far too fewer penalty corners. We have worked very hard on scoring goals and converting penalty corners during the training sessions, here, at the Sports Authority of India,” he said.

After the CWG failure, Manpreet was replaced by P.R. Sreejesh as the skipper for the last edition of the Champions Trophy. But, the stylish midfielder doesn’t have any qualms on losing out captaincy, saying that he is still learning the tricks of the trade.

“No, I do not have any regrets about losing captaincy. When I was a captain, I used to stick to the team’s game plan. I will do the same as a player too. Sreejesh was the captain earlier and is an experienced player. I have a lot to learn from him about captaincy,” he said.

India will take on arch-rival Pakistan in the opening match of the tournament, but Manpreet said that it is just another game for the side.

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