I like to play hockey the way David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo do in football: Manpreet Singh

Updated: Dec 12, 2018, 10:10 IST | Ashwin Ferro

It's for this season he picked the centre half position rather than a striker

India skipper Manpreet Singh
India skipper Manpreet Singh

In a hockey nation where most players are obsessed with dribbling, it comes as a pleasant surprise that India captain Manpreet Singh does not like to dodge too much. "I have always enjoyed distributing the ball around, right from my younger days," Manpreet, 26, said after a training session at the Kalinga Stadium yesterday.

It's for this season he picked the centre half position rather than a striker. "I do not like to carry the ball too much. I'm not the kind of player who always wants to score. I enjoy providing assists. If any of our player scores a goal, I'm happy but if someone scores from my assist I'm most happy," he added.

Manpreet idolises two prominent international footballers for just this reason. "I like football and my favourite players are former England captain David Beckham and Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. It's for this reason that I like to wear the No. 7 jersey," says Manpreet, India's most capped player at this World Cup with 238 international matches under his belt. Beckham made the No. 7 shirt immortal during his wonder years at Manchester United, while Real Madrid star Ronaldo's No. 7 shirt has become an international brand - CR7.

Leading sportsmen tend to watch videos of their own sport to improve or learn a thing or two but Manpreet enjoys watching football videos more. "I watch a lot of Beckham videos because I like the way he passes the ball around. His ball delivery, be it ground passes or the aerial ball, are excellent," said the Jalandhar lad. He has good reason to pick Ronaldo as a favourite too. "I follow Ronaldo very closely.

I like the fact that he is so passionate on the field and so focused on hitting his targets. He is never bothered about what others are saying about him. Besides, he is really nice with people. He does a lot of charity work. That's something I admire about him. He has inspired me and I try and do my bit for charity back home in Punjab too," said Manpreet.

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