NEW DELHI: Attacking players in football are often marked by their hunger to score or assist more for their team. One young man who has been making his mark for the past few seasons as a winger is Vikram Partap Singh.
The 20-year-old, who has scored thrice for Mumbai City FC so far, is currently the third-highest Indian goal scorer in the Hero Indian Super League after Liston Colaco (6) and Sahal Abdul Samad (4). However, the winger is always “hungry” for more.
“It’s great that I’ve been able to score three goals so far in this season. I had aimed for more at the start of the season, to be honest, but it’s been good so far, and I hope to keep performing in the upcoming matches,” Vikram said to the-aiff.com.
Vikram Partap is someone who has represented India at all the junior levels – U-14, U-16, U-19, and U-23, besides being a part of the Indian Arrows, and now he dreams of his maiden Senior National Team call-up.
“It’s not just me, but everyone who is playing the sport dreams of playing for the Senior National Team. I’ve played across so many different junior national teams, and I know how different the feeling is to put on the India jersey. I have heard about the matches against Bahrain and Belarus, and I am keeping my fingers crossed. At the same time, I need to improve with every given day” stated Vikram.
“I love playing with that kind of a feeling. When that moment comes, whenever that is, I’ll try my best to grab it.”
Most recently, ahead of the start of the Hero ISL season, Vikram was an integral part of the India U-23 side in the AFC U-23 Asian Cup Qualifiers, where he netted the winner in a 2-1 victory against Oman in Dubai. Vikram believes that it was a good opportunity for him to get one step closer to his dream.
“The U-23 camp was a brilliant experience for me. It came right before the season, so I also got those extra weeks to prepare. But what was really important for me is that it was just one step away from the Senior National Team,” he recalled. “I always had the feeling that if I did well, I always stood the chance of getting my first India call-up.”
The young attacker is someone who has come through the ranks of the AIFF Elite Academy and has played for the Indian Arrows in the 2018-19 and the 2019-20 seasons in the Hero I-League, an experience that he believes has very well helped him to prepare for football at the top level.
“Those two seasons at the Arrows helped me a lot. Getting to play professional senior teams at that young age gave me a lot of confidence before I headed to the Hero ISL. I learned a lot, and they played a huge role in getting me ready for the top tier,” reflected the 20-year-old.
Vikram Partap Singh, however, was not the only player from his batch to make the shift from the Indian Arrows to the Hero ISL. Many of his former Arrows teammates like Akash Mishra, Ashish Rai, Rohit Danu, Rahul KP, Suresh Singh, Prabshukhan Gill, Narender Gahlot, Deepak Tangri, Amarjit Singh, and many more are currently plying their trade in the top tier of Indian football.
“So many of my former Arrows teammates are now playing for different ISL teams. It’s always fun to play against them. Obviously, I know more about how they play and their strengths and weaknesses, but they also know the same about me. So, it’s a nice rivalry that we have on the field. We’re all good friends off the field, but on the pitch, we are all playing for our own teams,” Vikram opined.
One particular pal of Vikram, who has been by his side right from their time in the AFC U-16 Championship to the Indian Arrows, and now in Mumbai City FC is Gurkirat Singh. The former feels that having Gurkirat as a teammate means that both have helped each other a lot during the long season.
“It helps a lot to have someone like Gurkirat with me in the team. I’ve been playing with him for a long time since our junior days. Being with him helps a lot inside the bio-bubble,” said Vikram. “It’s a long season, and you’re bound to have both good and bad days. Hence, we tend to motivate each other during such times, and that helps us a lot.”
Being one of the youngsters who have made their way into the top tier, Vikram has been eased into the team at Mumbai City over the two seasons. The forward who operates mostly on the right-wing, however, is always hungry for more action.
“I didn’t get as much game time as I would have liked last season, so my target this time was first to get more games, and then to score as many goals and get as many assists as possible. We still have at least six matches left, and I’ll try to get as many of them as possible,” he said.
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