No fresh injury concerns for Hodgson

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FIVE THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR

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Gary Lim: Barkley can shine in England's new-look midfield diamond

The expected international debut of England's latest hotshot Harry Kane dominates the headlines.

But, for all the hype over the Tottenham Hotspur star, the rules of the game have not changed.

It is in midfield where the most blood is shed and where battles are ultimately won or lost.

With the retirement of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, England manager Roy Hodgson faces tough choices in coming up with a new-look engine room.

For the Euro 2016 Group E qualifier against Lithuania today and the international friendly against Italy next Tuesday, Hodgson has turned to 33-year-old Michael Carrick, who has been overlooked by many England managers over the years.

At the tip of the diamond, Raheem Sterling is expected to roam behind Hodgson's front two of Wayne Rooney and Kane, if he starts the game.

Jordan Henderson, by virtue of his form and improvement at Liverpool, is virtually a shoo-in for one of the slots in the diamond midfield. It leaves Adam Lallana, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (both injured), Ross Barkley, Fabian Delph, Ryan Mason, James Milner, Andros Townsend and even Danny Welbeck to vie for the remaining spot.

Of the lot, one player stands out - Barkley.

Read the full report in our print edition on March 27.

Subscribe to The New Paper, now available in print and digital, at http://bit.ly/tnpeshop..

 

Football family to pay respect to Mr Lee

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Afiq's injury looks serious

WOUNDED LION: Afiq Yunos (in blue) gets injured after halting the progress of Prakit Deeprom.

The LionsXII have had a mixed start to the 2015 Malaysia Super League campaign, although centre back Afiq Yunos has turned in some encouraging displays.

With Safuwan Baharudin on loan at A-League outfit Melbourne City, Madhu Mohana and Afiq have done well enough as the new partnership in the heart of the defence.

The reward for the 24-year-old was another start on the international stage last night, when Singapore took on Thailand at the 80th Birthday Stadium in Korat, which ended in a 2-0 defeat.

However, the rugged defender lasted only slightly more than half an hour before having to be replaced when he appeared to suffer a serious knee injury, after racing across in a determined bid to prevent Prakit Deeprom from firing a shot from close range.

It was a sad sight after the final whistle as a clearly downcast Afiq departed the dressing room on crutches ahead of the rest of the team, helped out of the stadium by physiotherapist Nurhafizah Abu Sujad and winger Gabriel Quak.

Although the Singapore camp remained tight-lipped regarding the extent of the injury, early signs suggest he could be out for an extended period of time. 

Read the full report in our print edition on March 27.

Subscribe to The New Paper, now available in print and digital, at http://bit.ly/tnpeshop.

Stange: No complaints about 2-0 loss to Thailand

SURPRISE: Safuwan Baharudin's (in blue) position in midfield raises eyebrows.

It was arranged to commemorate 50 years of relations between the two nations, and last night’s clash between Singapore and Thailand in Korat took on even greater significance after the death of the Republic’s first Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew on Monday.

In honour of Mr Lee, the Lions and the Thais all donned commemorative tops emblazoned with his face during the warm-up and the hosts did their part in honouring the occasion, allowing their opponents to play in blue rather than red and observing a minute’s silence before kick-off.

But there was still the matter of a game to be played, between two great South-east Asian rivals and, in the end, it was the War Elephants who claimed a 2-0 victory, courtesy of goals by Suttinun Phuk-hom and Pokkhao Anan in the final few minutes.

Bernd Stange’s men may blame bad luck for last night’s defeat, after they were forced into a reshuffle when they lost defender Afiq Yunos to a serious-looking knee injury shortly after the half-hour mark and yet match their opponents for the majority of the contest.

But Stange’s decision to play Zulfahmi Arifin as a centre back while deploying Safuwan Baharudin in the engine room alongside Hariss Harun also raised a few eyebrows, although the German was adamant it was a move that went according to plan.

“I think it was a good decision,” he said, after the game.

“In holding midfield, with Hariss and Safuwan there, they cleaned everything — Thailand had no chances in the first half.

“I think it worked very well and the players put in a strong performance.

“We had a bit of bad luck with injuries and that could be a reason there was a loss in concentration, but I have nothing to complain about today.”

Read the full report in our print edition on March 27.

Subscribe to The New Paper, now available in print and digital, at http://bit.ly/tnpeshop.

Walking the miracle sea path

Annual phenomenon which briefly exposes pathway between two islands in South Korean peninsula attracts locals and tourists

COOL: As the evening low tide exposes a 2.8-km long pathway between the South Korean islands of Jindo and Modo, some dig for clams, crabs and seaweed.
COOL: As the evening low tide exposes a 2.8-km long pathway between the South Korean islands of Jindo and Modo, some dig for clams, crabs and seaweed.
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Man dies under fallen 50kg sugar sacks

MESS: Police officers at the scene of the incident where gunny sacks of sugar were strewn over the floor of the three-storey high warehouse in Senoko.
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HELP YOUR CHILD COPE

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NTU is fastest rising young university

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