NEW DELHI, 2nd June:
Dheeraj Singh, India’s young goalkeeping talent, has signed for Kerala Blasters ahead of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2018-19 season on Saturday. Dheeraj was previously training with the Scottish club Motherwell FC but was unable to sign with them due to the lack of a work permit.
“I am delighted to sign for Kerala Blasters. I had an opportunity to train with the club in January before travelling to the UK. I am really excited to work with David James and play in front of the best fans in the country,” Dheeraj told Goal.com in an interview after his signing.
The 17-year old caught the attention of Motherwell FC scouts during the FIFA U-17 World Cup last year where he was undoubtedly the best player for India. The hosts were unable to reach the knockout stages, but Dheeraj’s performances made him a hero among the Indian football fans.
Dheeraj quit Indian Arrows, the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) developmental squad in the I-League, after the end of his contract on December 31, 2017 to pursue his dreams of playing for a European club. In the meantime, he was training with the Kerala Blasters.
Dheeraj was offered a 3-year deal by Motherwell FC but he was unable to secure a work permit because of his age and lack of international experience. The goalkeeper can reapply after one season but the rule states that a player must feature in at least 75% of his national side’s competitive games over the course of two years for acquiring a work permit in the United Kingdom.