Burridge wants to train India’s U22 keeper

English goalkeeping coach John Burridge, who helped Oman's Ali al Habsi become a standout goalkeeper in the Premier League for Wigan AC, has now set his sights on mentoring 20 year old Indian keeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

Gurpreet is in Muscat with the junior Indian football team for the ongoing AFC U22 Asian Cup 2013 qualifier tournament and Burridge has been closely monitoring his progress of late, showing a keen interest in coaching the youngster so that he can someday make it to European league football.

Burridge is a football expert with a popular sports television channel and is currently employed with UAE-based Al Wasl Club, where Diego Maradona is head coach.

Speaking to Muscat Daily, Burridge said, I have come from Dubai to follow Gurpreet's progress. From my experience, I can tell you that he has a lot of potential. If he gets proper training, he can surely play in the UK.

Budgie refused to provide details of what he plans to do with the talented six-foot-four keeper from the northern Indian city of Mohali, but he has been advising him from time to time of late.

The veteran English goalkeeper spent several years in the sultanate coaching Habsi and Oman's goalkeeping stand-bys when he was roped in by the Oman Football Association (OFA).

Gurpreet is tall, hardworking and young. I need six to seven months with him before I can present him in Europe. With proper training, he can make it big. I have done it for Ali [al Habsi] in the past. I can do it with him, too, said Budgie, who has played for top English clubs like Manchester City, Newcastle and Aston Villa during his 30 year long career as a goalkeeper.

Burridge is being accompanied on his Muscat trip by Joe Morrison, presenter with the TV channel.

Morrison said, Burridge and I have seen Gurpreet in the I-League (India's top club league). He is good and we want to provide him a chance to taste top professional football in Europe. Like Ali made Oman famous in football, Indian football also needs a star player. We see Gurpreet as a good prospect.

Oman thrashes Turkmenistan Oman climbed to third position in Group A after thrashing Turkmenistan 3-1 in the AFC U22 Championship 2013 qualifier tournament. The match was played at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on Thursday.

Abdullah Saleh (42nd minute), Mubarak al Miqbali (69th) and Sami Mubarak (77th) scored a goal each for Oman, while Magtymov Yhlas (64th) reduced the margin for Turkmenistan.

Earlier in the day, Iraq outplayed Lebanon 5-1 at the same venue, while India secured a 1-1 draw against UAE at the ROP Stadium.

Group A standings: 1 Iraq (9 points), 2 UAE (7), 3 Oman (6), 4 India (4), 5 Turkmenistan (0), 6 Lebanon (0). 

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