New Delhi: After being recalled to the Indian hockey team, young striker Mandeep Singh on Thursday said he was motivated to return to the national team after being dropped from the Asian Games squad.
Newly-appointed chief coach Paul van Ass on Wednesday included Mandeep in the 18-member squad for the 24th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup to be held in Ipoh, Malaysia from April 5-12.
"Previously, I was part of the World Cup squad in June last year and since then I missed out on the other important tournaments during the same year," Mandeep said in a release.
"I was unlucky that I was not part of the gold medal-winning team during the Asian Games but it motivated me to work even harder and make a strong comeback," he added.
"Missing out on making it into the core team for the Asian Games, did not deter me to go back to the drawing board and understand where I was lacking."
Mandeep got back his place in the Australian tour after the Asian Games. But the 20-year-old was again sidelined for the Champions Trophy held in December 2014.
However, he proved his mettle at the Hero Hockey India League 2015. Mandeep got noticed because of his speed and aggressive play and successfully complemented his teammates Trent Mitton and Nicolas Wilson to help Ranchi Rays emerge champions.
His fearless attacks and ability to penetrate the semi-circle on the ground got many to sit up and keep an eye on his performance during the League.
"I worked hard on my loopholes and I was aware that the HIL 2015 will be the platform for me to prove myself. Luckily I found my form and I gave my best during that period. I am happy that my hard work has paid off by making it back in the team," the lanky forward claimed.
The Sardar Singh-led Indian team will take on reigning world champions Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Malaysia and Canada for the title.
It will be the first assignment for Dutchman van Ass, who takes over the reins of the eight-time Olympic champions from Australian Terry Walsh.
Photos: Katrina Kaif, Shamita Shetty at Mumbai airport
Photos: Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt promote 'Badri...' on 'Dil Hai Hindustani'
In pictures: 15 facts about kissing that will surprise you
Photos: Shahid Kapoor and Mira Rajput at cafe in Bandra
Photos: Deepika Padukone, Neha Dhupia and Soha Ali Khan at event