You're 18 years old and you've just scored a goal-of-the-season contender on your starting A-League debut. You could be forgiven for expecting a few messages of congratulations from your family and friends. Instead, when Phoenix midfielder Sarpreet Singh turned his phone on after Saturday's night's A-League win over Perth Glory, there wasn't a single one.
"I had no data at the time," smiled Singh.
"But once I got home (onto the Wi-Fi) it was blowing up a bit!"
With a sweet swing of his left foot just 135 seconds into his first start for the club, Singh announced himself in the A-League. His stunning strike sailed past Glory goalkeeper Liam Reddy and into the top corner, setting Wellington Phoenix on track for just a fourth win of what has been a fairly wretched season. But Singh, who celebrates his 19th birthday today, might just be the silver lining to a disappointing 2017/18 campaign.
"There was some good build-up play – it started from the back just like we train. I had to be in between the lines and (when) I turned, my first thought was to shoot. I saw that side of the goal free and hit it sweetly. But it's just a start for me – now I need to kick on and carry on. It can't just stop there."
The drums have been beating for Singh to be given a decent shot at this level. He'd made six previous A-League appearances, all from the bench, but with Croatian midfielder Goran Paracki nursing an ankle injury, coach Darije Kalezic handed the precociously talented teen his first A-League start.
Singh seized it with both hands. His goal aside, the youngster put in an assured performance in Wellington's engine-room, looking comfortable in possession, regularly finding pockets of space between Perth's midfield and defensive lines and helping out at the back when needed. When he was withdrawn after 68 minutes, Kalezic welcomed him to the bench with a warm embrace and Singh now looks set for a prolonged run in the starting side, beginning with Friday's visit to Central Coast Mariners.
"I want to keep doing what I'm doing, but with consistency. Sometimes young kids come in and play one good game and the next game they don't go so well. It's about performing week in, week out. That's what the good professionals do," he said.
Singh moved from Auckland to the Wellington Phoenix Academy in 2015 as one of the first recipients of the Winston Reid scholarship which aims to help talented young Kiwis take a step towards becoming professional footballers. He made his A-League debut last season – two days before he turned 18 – and signed his first professional deal with the club in June.
Singh reckons he weighs 65kg, but that's probably only because it rained heavily during the club's training session today. However, his slight stature belies a rare level of technical ability. His youth and academy coaches will tell you he's always been a standout among those his own age, but Saturday's performance showed he can foot it in the cut and thrust of the A-League as well.
The national league has provided him with solid grounding and Singh has been playing against men for the last two seasons in the Phoenix reserve side. As a 16-year-old he scored an eye-catching goal against Canterbury United in January 2016 and is clearly among the top handful of players in our national competition. It seems unlikely he'll spend too much more time there now.
Having already represented New Zealand at under-17 and under-20 level, including World Cups in Chile in 2015 and Korea Republic last year, Singh is now also being talked about as an almost certain future All White. If he keeps playing like he did on Saturday – and there's nothing to suggest he won't – that call could come sooner rather than later.
He should probably keep that phone data topped up.