With the Coronavirus bringing the world to a standstill, India footballer Amarjit Singh’s plans of training have taken a hit, but the 19-year-old from Manipur is determined to put in the extra yards once the situation improves in the country. Also Read - FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Tournament Director Roma Khanna Resign

At only 18 years of age, Amarjit made his India debut last year but his rise was halted due to a roadblock, which arrived in the form of an elbow injury, which would force him out of action for four months. The India midfielder has begun his road to recovery but the outbreak of COVID-19 has put his progress on hold. Also Read - Oman, UAE Matches a Start From Scratch for India: Football Coach Igor Stimac

“The goal remains the same. I am determined to work extra hard to cover for the training that I have missed. I have to be in top shape. I know have to keep pushing myself constantly to grow as a player,” Amarjit said. Also Read - Mamata Banerjee to Laxmi Ratan Shukla, How Twitter Mourned The Death of Football Legend Chuni Goswami | SEE POSTS

“I keep myself in shape with stretching exercises which I can do indoors and take care of my body. There are no excuses in football and I know that the efforts I put in now will pay certain dividends in the future.”

The midfielder’s story began in Manipur, where he saw his elder brother Umakanta take to the ‘beautiful game,’ and first got the idea to play for the country one day. As and when he was picked for the AIFF Academy, he became a part of the group of players who were meticulously reared for the FIFA U17 World Cup India 2017. Amarjit wore the captain’s armband in all three of India’s group-stage games, and led his team by example as the side captured the imagination of the entire nation.

With the number of COVID-19 cases rising by day, Amarjit admitted these are testing times. “It is a difficult situation, no doubt. The circumstances are challenging but I hope we will get through them quickly. We are all grateful for the efforts being put in by the frontline workers to keep us safe and all of us must make sure we take the prescribed precautions, adhere to the instructions of the authorities and be understanding,” he pointed out.

After his debut for the Indian team last year, Amarjit received words of praise from Head coach Igor Stimac and Under-19 National team coach Floyd Pinto. His rise in the last two years has been nothing short of meteoric – from being the captain of the first Indian Team to take part in a FIFA World Cup, to leading the Indian Arrows in two seasons of the Hero I-League, and now a Senior Team debut. And yet, one can’t help but feel that Amarjit is just getting started.

“There is a lot of competition for spots in the national team. Knowing that I have 10-20 people competing with me for the same positions, it is up to me to work hardest to get the coach’s nod in the starting line-up,” he said.