'Now I know, a goalkeeper needs to head it perfectly too.'
India goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu is super excited, and it's all for Liverpool's Alisson Becker.
Goalkeeper Alisson scored a stunning header in the fifth minute of stoppage-time as Liverpool snatched a 2-1 victory at the death against relegated West Bromwich Albion in the English Premier League match on Sunday.
“I just can't stop watching his header again, and again. Maybe it just happened – the ball fell in place and out of pure commitment he glided the ball – and what a header! But if he is doing that regularly in practice, then we have to admit that he is extra special,” said the India goalkeeper.
And the lanky Indian custodian doesn’t mind emulating Allison sometime soon.
“Not that I am desperate to do it, and I hope that I don’t have to do it ever. Obviously, there have been quite a few times that I have gone up for my club Bengaluru FC, and also during my stint with previous clubs."
“But if the team requires it as per the situation, who knows? But I would rather leave it to Sunil Chhetri. He is much better at it than me,” Gurpreet’s laughter almost breaks the ceiling. “I have to work on me attacking the ball, and on my heading. But I don’t mind it,” he smiles again.
“For a modern-day goalkeeper, the importance of being good with your feet is paramount. Gone are the days when a goalkeeper was just a shot-stopper,” Gurpreet, an Arjuna Awardee, adds.
“Personally, it was an exciting challenge to undergo the transition phase. When I started professionally, the trend was more to save shots. The first instructions which I received were to kick the ball back to where it came from. But it’s changed now,” the first Indian player to feature in a Europa League (for Norwegian side Stabaek FK) match said.
“The goalkeeper needs to initiate the attack, help the team build up on the possession. His distribution has to be impeccable. However, I am still a student of the game and working on the same. There is a long way to go,” he stated.
"And now I know, a goalkeeper needs to head it perfectly too."