New Delhi: There is some good news for Indian football team ahead of its World Cup qualifiers against UAE as first-choice goalkeeper Subrata Paul has declared that he has fully recovered from his arm injury.
"I am totally fit. I have started practicing a couple of days back. I had a bit of niggle in my right hand but it`s over," Paul said after the senior team`s 1-1 draw with the India under-23 team at the Ambedkar Stadium here today.
Paul, who single-handedly helped India retain the Nehru Cup in 2009 with his work under the bar, has a lot of respect for senior pro Sandeep Nandy, the man he had replaced a few years ago.
"Sandip Nandy is my idol. I have always looked up to him and learnt so much," he said.
The Pune FC goalkeeper, who was one of the very few bright spots in India`s disastrous performance in the Asian Cup earlier this year, said he doesn`t want to think about the past.
"I don`t think too much about the past. I am looking forward to the World Cup qualifiers. It is a new challenge for me," he said.
Paul also said that he will stay at Pune FC but is game for trying his luck overseas.
While chief coach Armando Colaco did surprise quite a few by fielding almost two different sides on either side of the break today, Paul has full faith on the Goan.
"The set-up is new. The coach is making the players understand his style of play and the entire squad has been supportive of his plan."
Armando, too, sounded bullish despite the scoreline.
"I wanted to have a look at as many players as possible. Once I replaced Shilton D`Silva and Jewel Raja with Lalkamal Bhowmick and Mehtab Hussain the game opened up with short passes," said Armando.
"I am happy that the boys are quickly getting into the the passing style. The boys` game have assured me that they will work hard to adopt this style and that was very heartening for me. It`s getting better day by day and I`m happy with the progress. The new players (under-23) are adjusting to my style," he said.
India are slated to play UAE in an away match on July 23, before hosting them here on July 28.