Singh: The move caused a real sensation back home
Sarpreet Singh was beaming as he stepped out on the pitch. After two days off, FC Bayern's newcomer from New Zealand is bursting with energy in training with the reserves. The 20-year-old has been in Munich for two months and obviously feels at home. Originally planned for the team in the third division, the forward attracted attention from the very start with his strong performances. That did not pass Niko Kovačby. It meant Singh found himself training with the first team after just a few days. He travelled with Manuel Neuer & Co. on the Audi Summer Tour to the USA and featured in the pre-season games against Real Madrid andTottenham Hotspur. Most recently he has been impressing in action for the reserves, scoring a remarkable maiden goal in the 2-1 defeat to Unterhaching. fcbayern.com sat down with Singh to discuss his first few weeks in Bavaria.
The interview with Sarpreet Singh
fcbayern.com: Sarpeet, you've been with Bayern for two months now. How have you settled in?
Singh:"The first two months couldn't have gone better. My teammates and Sebastian Hoeneß's team of coaches with the reserves all welcomed me warmly and quickly integrated me into the team. The fact I was able to travel to the USA with the first team and was trusted to get plenty of playing time there and in the Audi Cup is amazing. All in all, I feel that I belong to both teams and have been able to get to know several sides of the club, at the Campus and Säbener Straße. I'm super happy."
How was it leaving home to move over 18,000 kilometres away to Munich?
"My home is really far away. The distance is still okay. You travel and arrive dead tired after about 30 hours, but what's difficult in everyday life is the time difference. When I wake up in the morning my family and friends are already going to bed and vice versa."
How closely are your friends and family in New Zealand following your development in Munich?
"Of course they're following my progress very closely. I'm in close contact with them through social media. The move from the A-League to the German third division and the first team caused a real sensation back home. My move to FC Bayern was something special."
What's been the biggest different between Bayern and your previous club Wellington Phoenix?
"FC Bayern is one of the most renowned clubs in the world. The difference to Wellington is enormous, in terms of infrastructure, training conditions and, of course, the individual support. But I had an unforgettable time with Wellington and I'm really grateful for everything I learned there, from which I'm now benefitting."
How did the move come about?
"Last season I was able to play a lot of A-League games as a young player, and I scored some goals and provided some assists. As a result I was called up to the senior national team. And at the U-20 World Cup in Poland, I was able to convince people with good performances, so aroused the interest of European clubs. I'm just very happy about the move to FC Bayern."
Did you think you'd be playing with the first team so quickly?
"The move from the Australian league to Germany was a huge one. I just wanted to get used to the game here and take it one step at a time. I didn't think I'd find my feet so quickly, and of course it couldn't have been expected that I'd get a chance with the first team after such a short period of time. But I hoped it'd happen and I'm pleased I can pay back the trust. I saw the move to FC Bayern as a big chance that I really want to take advantage of."
How did you find playing in front of 70,000 people in the Audi Cup alongside players like Thomas Müller, Robert Lewandowski and Thiago?
"Of course it's something very special to be on the pitch with world champions and global stars. As a young player, you learn a lot in games like that and in every training session. It gives me courage because it shows me I can also reach that level if I work hard."
You have predominantly played in attacking midfield with the reserves. Where do you think your strengths lie?
"I love the game, the interplay, a pass in behind. I see my greatest strength in the creative area in attacking midfield, in the centre, but I also out wide if it helps the team."
In what areas do you still have room for improvement?
"As a young player, you have to improve everywhere, every day. I do extra shifts in addition to the normal training sessions and feel top fit."
What are your personal aims for the season?
"With the reserves, I want to help ensure that we have nothing to do with a relegation battle in the third division. And of course if I could make my Bundesliga debut that would be a dream. However, it's all step by step."