Sarpreet Singh - NZ's Wunderkind
So, to the guy who posted the thread "What is the point of the Phoenix?"; I guess you now have your long-awaited answer: to produce players who are capable of playing for the biggest clubs in the world. In this case, Bayern Munich. A club who can attract basically any player they want and who almost have free reign to pillage clubs for the best German talent.. (except Leroy Sane apparently, but that's another story)
Sarpreet Singh. Around this time last year, he was playing Wairarapa in the wind and rain. Now? He's getting ready to potentially lace his boots for a competitive debut against Borussia Dortmund.
He's gone straight from being benched by Mark Rudan for the last Phoenix game of the season to playing against some of the most recognisable teams in the world; Arsenal, Real Madrid, Milan, Fenerbache, Tottenham; It's an absolutely insane footballing story. It defies belief.
There is not one person who expected Singh to get anywhere close to the first team within 3 weeks of joining. He was expected to knock around in the reserves for a good year; but he's torn up the script and written his own. In a game which has become increasingly weighed down by ludicrous transfer fees, Singh went to Bayern for a comparatively measly 850k.
His last action was to bury a penalty during a shootout against Tottenham. Kovac trusted him to take it, and he re-paid that trust in kind.
The latest comments from Bayern coach Niko Kovac;
"I think that was a really good acquisition," Kovac said. "Singh is someone was originally planned for the second team but what he showed in America and in the two games at the Audi Cup in Munich shows that he is a lot further [along] than some of the other players in the second team.
"So without a doubt he will get the opportunities. It depends on his further progress to play in the first team … but I'm very happy with him and I'm surprised, I'm positively surprised and I'm happy about his development."With him and Alphonso Davies you can see they are a lot further [along] than the others who are playing in the second team."With Serge Gnabry in doubt for Sunday's clash after picking up an injury earlier in the week, Kovac said Singh was a chance to make his competitive debut at Dortmund's famous Westfalenstadion.
He joined the Nix Academy in early 2015 after receiving a footballing scholarship from Winston Reid. (Wonder if Winnie has been on the phone to try and get a slice of his transfer fee..)
I hope this receives the coverage it deserves. It's a real underdog story - and potentially an answer to those who turn their nose up at the Phoenix and the A-League.
Either way, it has definitely put the Phoenix on the map.