Former India hockey coach Harendra Singh today said that ace drag-flicker Sandeep Singh will have to work harder in order to regain his position in the national squad as competition within the team has become stiffer.
"I have no problem with Sandeep Singh's performances. But he needs to do better because the competition is quite good. Rupinder Pal Singh has emerged as a good defender with his drag flicks and Gurjinder Singh is quite lethal," Harendra said at the launch of a performance analysis providing company 'Sportstec'.
"If a player makes up his mind to make a comeback then no coach or federation can stop him. He has the capability and the energy and the hunger to represent India. Sandeep will himself have to try to bring his game to the level at which he has given performances in the past," he said.
Hailing the recently held Hockey India League, the former coach highlighted the fact that youngsters performed better than seasoned players in the five-team event.
"Hockey is youth's game. I think Hockey India League has proved if you have faith in youngsters then the result will be good. And because of HIL, the result for Indian Hockey will be good," said Harendra.
"Barring Sardar (Singh), all the big names mostly failed. Only the youngsters performed. Ranchi Rhinos and Delhi Waveriders chose youngsters and they played the final.
"The best part of Hockey India league was that an Indian coach (Ajay Kumar) Bansal (coach of finalists Delhi Waveriders) proved that it is not only the foreign (coaches but also) Indian coaches can achieve what they want. The full staff was Indian," he added.
However, he said that the number of teams should be increased to eight to make the league more competitive.
ďThe format was good but the teams were less. I think eight teams should have played. A few teams had taken it for granted that they would play the semi-final, but had it been an eight-team game then every coach, every player, every franchise would have been on their toes." Backing national coach Michael Nobbs, Harendra said the Australian needs to be given some more time to produce good results after team's dismal show in the 2012 London Games where they finshed last.
"I think the London Olympic preparation under Michael Nobbs wasn't that good because he came in 2011 July and within one year no coach can produce a medallist. You need to give him