Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu joined Norwegian Tippeligae side Stabæk FC in August 2014Gurpreet Singh Sandhu official Facebook Page

Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu recorded his name in the history books of Indian football by becoming the first Indian footballer since 1936 to start for a top flight European club.

The 22-year-old shotstopper, who had been signed by Norwegian Tippeligae side Stabæk FC in August 2014, was handed his first senior start for the club during their 4-1 league victory over Follo Fotballklubb this weekend.

Although the likes of Bhaichung Bhutia (Bury) , Sunil Chhetri (Sporting FC B) and Subrata Pal (FC Vestsjælland) have also played in Europe, none have managed to make a top flight appearance except the legendary Mohammedan SC winger Mohammed Salim, who was signed by Scottish side Celtic in 1936.

Ten Sports presenter Joe Morrison showered praises on Sandhu, insisting that most people in India don't "fully appreciate" the 6'6'' shot-stopper's achievement.

"I don't think people fully appreciate Gurpreet's achievement," said Morrison, according to sportzwiki.

"How many have tried and failed to make it in Europe before and here is a boy who through his own hard work and ability has not only earned himself a permanent contract but also now has broken into the first team."

"He could quite easily have gone for the glitz and glamour of the ISL but anyone who knows football knows that the standard in Europe (in any league) is probably four of five levels above that of India."

Sandhu, who formerly played for East Bengal, got a lucky break when he was discovered by former English Premier League goalkeeper and goalkeeping coach John 'Budgie' Burridge, who invited the 22-year-old to train with Wigan Athletic after being impressed by his frame and agility.

After that Sandhu, who hails from Mohali, Punjab, was signed by Stabæk and hasn't looked back ever since.

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