Mon, 05 Dec 2022

Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], November 23 (ANI): Having watched closely the India Colts train for the Men's Junior World Cup 2021, India senior team skipper Manpreet Singh and ace goalkeeper PR Sreejesh reflected their thoughts on the side's preparedness.

Defending Champions India will look to retain their trophy as the FIH Odisha Hockey men's Junior World Cup Bhubaneswar 2021 kicks off on Wednesday.

"The team has been doing fantastic during the last couple of months in Bengaluru. Recently, we played a couple of games against them. They seemed ready to start the tournament," said PR Sreejesh in a Hockey India release.

India skipper Manpreet is confident that the junior side has the ability to reach the finals of the showpiece event.

"They actually beat us in one of the games we played. I am pretty confident they have the ability to reach the final. And if they continue to play as a team throughout the tournament, they can win the trophy," said Manpreet, who led India to a historic bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

Manpreet also revealed the advice he gave to dynamic midfielder Vivek Sagar Prasad, who will be shouldering the captaincy duties in the tournament for India.

"I have spoken to Vivek many times. I told him the main thing for them is to remain as a team. Winning and losing is part of the game," said Manpreet.

"But when we lose, there is a tendency to point fingers, but I told him that the team should not do that, and just focus on your game, and just stay as a team. And that will help you win every match," he added.

Sreejesh said the Indian players will miss the fans at FIH Odisha Hockey men's Junior World Cup but playing at the iconic Kalinga Stadium will be a good learning experience for the young team.

"I think the players will miss playing in front of the big crowd. That is the beauty of the Kalinga Stadium, the cheers, the sound, they will miss that. Still, I feel the atmosphere will help them to perform really well and will be a big learning experience," said Sreejesh.

India will kick off their campaign on Wednesday, facing off against France in their opening contest. (ANI)

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