The 2 days thus far on the FIH Professional League ‘mini tournament’ right here have seen two 21-year-olds shine and impress as a lot for his or her temperament and potential as their performances. The truth that each of them are goalkeepers — India’s Pawan Malik and Jean-Paul Danneberg for Germany — is the one factor widespread between them, although.
Pawan has performed a giant group earlier than — towards Netherlands in an away recreation final yr — and in entrance of huge crowds at house (the 2021 Junior World Cup) however by no means collectively. Danneberg, in the meantime, starred in Germany’s World Cup triumph simply over a month again in a packed Bhubaneswar stadium, turning into an on the spot hero for his shootout exploits within the ultimate towards Belgium.
Friday’s conflict towards Germany was solely Pawan’s second recreation at this stage whereas Danneberg has been with the German facet for fairly some time, regardless of restricted recreation time. The teenager from Hisar, Haryana, has been a part of some large occasions however admitted the step-up to senior stage is a giant one.
“We have played a lot as juniors, but the level here is very different, very high. The ball possession, ball rotation and speed from the opposition teams is all at a completely different level. Playing here was a big lesson in how to handle pressure in match situations at this level,” the lanky teenager stated.
Studying the ropes
Being in camps with the likes of Sreejesh and Krishan Pathak has helped rather a lot. “He has a lot of experience, almost as much as my age! But he always keeps helping and advising, during the tournament and in camps also, he keeps giving tips on handling pressure and improving our game and it was a proud moment to play with him.
“Yes there was some pressure before the match began, but there were also positive vibes playing at home and seniors also helped. I was worried a bit but also enjoyed the moment,” Pawan stated.
For Danneberg, man-of-the-match in his group’s victory over Australia on Saturday, attending to play a complete match was necessary in proving himself past the shootouts.
“It was great to perform in front of this whole crowd, these crazy people, the feeling is unbelievable and it’s nice to be back. It was very tough against Australia, I know I am a specialist for shootouts but I also train on the pitch so it was great to save goals and win against a team like them. But now we have to focus on ourselves and try to do better things,” the tall teenager admitted.
Requested the way it impacts a teenager when bringing off saves towards a troublesome opponent like Germany, Pawan admitted the primary assault was essential. “Goalkeeper is a position where there is always pressure because you never know when an attack comes in a fast game like hockey. So the first attack is very important. If it is scored, the confidence does go low and makes you uncertain. But if it is saved, the exact opposite happens — you become more fearless and there is a feeling of doing well which helps raise your game.”
Totally different prep, similar job
For Danneberg, who made not less than half a dozen saves to disclaim Australia, the problem just isn’t within the depth however the preparations whereas being on-field by way of the sport as in comparison with approaching on the finish.
“Mentally it’s a very tough job but I grew up with this, so one day you learn how to manage the situation, it’s like training. You know what you have to do then you can make those saves. But it’s not difficult to focus — it’s not the same, it’s different but it’s not more difficult. You know that you have only this one job and it’s my whole focus. My preparation is different…,” he tried to elucidate.
And whereas Pawan is keen to bide his time — “even if I do not get to play matches, I learn a lot every day from seniors in the camp” — figuring out it can come ahead of later, Danneberg is conscious of the expectations from him. And he is able to settle for them, whatever the situations.
“We are not 100 percent right now so it’s difficult but it’s also normal. We have snow in Germany right now and after the World Cup, you get rest and enjoy time with your family, not the best time to play hockey, maybe in four weeks it will be much better. But then again, that’s hockey and it’s what you do so you have to manage it,” he shrugged.
Regardless of their peak and construct, the agility, flexibility, and anticipation from each has been distinctive right here thus far and their respective groups could be hoping they proceed in the identical vein. That’s the one different commonality between the 2.