New All Whites coach Danny Hay has made no secret of his desire to play an attacking brand of possession-based football and there are few players more suited to that approach than Sarpreet Singh.
The prodigiously talented playmaker has been through a meteoric rise in recent months, starring for the Wellington Phoenix before catching the eye further at the FIFA U-20 World Cup and then earning a dream move to Bayern Munich, one of the biggest clubs in the world.
That journey is set to continue on Friday morning (NZT) when the All Whites take on the Republic of Ireland in the first match of Hay’s reign and there is great interest in the potential impact of Singh, who is hoping to play a key role over the coming months in his country’s bid to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“I think you’ll see a very attack-minded team – we really want to keep the ball and hurt teams,” Singh said of Hay’s philosophy.
“It’s about controlling the game for as long as we can, with and without the ball. I think with the players we have now, the structure and the set-up gives us a lot of freedom to express ourselves. Ireland will be a good test but we’re ready for it and we want to see where we’re at. It’s all very positive at the moment and we’re excited.”
All Whites after defeating India in Mumbai earlier this year (Photo: https://www.nzfootball.co.nz/)
Singh’s ascent has been so swift that he has barely had time to reflect and it’s hard to believe it’s less than two years since he first burst onto the scene with the Phoenix.
“It’s been an incredible journey to get to where I am,” Singh said.
“I’m really grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given and life is good in Munich, I’m loving it there and it couldn’t be any better. As a player, I think I’m improving and developing immensely. I’ve been there for five months now but it feels like it’s gone quite quickly. I guess that’s what happens when you enjoy it and have fun.”
Being based in Europe also has its advantages in regards to All Whites duty with Singh needing to only make the comparatively short trip from Munich to Dublin for this window, rather than enduring a long-haul trek like his former Phoenix teammates.
Many of his All Whites teammates are of the fresh-faced variety with Hay naming seven uncapped players in his first squad. But there is still a strong core of experience and Singh is excited by that promising blend.
The All Whites will take on the Republic of Ireland on Friday morning from 8.45 a.m. (NZT) with coverage live on Sky Sport.