Andy Hedge, the former coach of Bayern Munich II player Sarpreet Singh, discussed his experience of coaching the youngster, Singh’s rapid ascension, and more in an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald.
Early on, Hedge recognized Singh’s technical quality and potential with the youngster displaying the tremendous skill of playing with his head up, so he could always see the game and pick out the correct passes:
He always knew what he was going to do before he got the ball. That just puts him a step ahead of the other players.
However, this passing skill and intelligence to play quick passes often put him on different wave lengths with his teammates as Hedge describes:
Unfortunately, when you’ve got a player like that at a very young age, a lot of the players around him of a similar age and experience don’t have the same speed of thought as he does, so often he’d play passes that other players weren’t ready for.
This type of passing ability and quick thinking is even apparent at the top level as you see players like Lionel Messi play passes that their own world class teammates aren’t ready for. Although, when Singh made the jump to the first-team, his passing ability and awareness became all the more apparent:
But when he went up to train with the first-team, who were ready to receive those passes, he looked even better because those passes would connect. From a coach’s point of view, when you see him play, he’s got such an awareness around him of the space that is available, where he needs to take his touch to play the next pass.
The Sydney Morning Herald also spoke with Singh’s former teammate Alex Rufer. Although he knew of Singh’s talent, Rufer did not think the New Zealand international’s rise would be quite so dramatic. Speaking about Singh’s ascension from the Wellington Phoenix in the A-League to signing for Bayern II to playing against Real Madrid, Arsenal and AC Milan in the International Champions Cup, Rufer said:
I’ve had a few messages with him back and forth over the past couple of weeks and I think as much as anybody he’s surprised at how quickly it has happened, but I guess it shows the quality that he’s got.
He added how Singh has not succumbed to the pressure of the spotlight and is remaining humble and true to his roots:
He’s such a level-headed kid and his feet are firmly on the ground; he’s not getting too far ahead of himself and I’m sure he hasn’t gone out and bought a Louis Vuitton wash bag yet. He says ‘I feel quite comfortable, I’m trying my best and I’ll see where it goes’, he’s just a typical, humble, well-rounded Kiwi lad.
Going back to Hedge, Singh is already inspiring the next generation of footballers in his homeland. From his personal experience of coaching a youth team, Hedge described how Singh’s popularity has skyrocketed recently:
Before if you had said to them in a training session; who is Sarpreet Singh? Probably half would say ‘doesn’t he play for the Phoenix?’ But now they all know and for those more serious footballers, it’s given them such a kick to say you can do it. You can grow up in Onehunga and play for Bayern Munich
Hopefully Singh can perform well for Bayern II this season and make the jump to the first team within the coming years.