Gary Lim: Make use of your chance, Walcott

RECORD: Arsenal forward Theo Walcott (in white) is England's youngest senior player at 17 years and 75 days, a record achieved when he was selected for the 2006 World Cup Finals.

Theo Walcott was once the target for every Premiership heavyweight.

When it became clear at 16 years old that he was leaving Southampton, the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur made a beeline for his signature.

His dazzling pace made heads turn, and his willingness to take on defenders was a rare trait among English players.

England believed they had a new Michael Owen and so did then-manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, who handed Walcott his senior debut in 2006, making him England’s youngest senior player at 17 years and 75 days.

As the Three Lions prepare for tomorrow morning’s (Singapore time) international friendly against Italy, Walcott, 26, stands exactly where he was about nine years ago --  on the fringe of the England manager’s plans, writes Gary Lim.

Read the full report in our print edition on March 31.

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

Zidane: I want France job

Zinedine Zidane.
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Tweaks work a treat

France-based Lacazette and Payet shine in win over Denmark

DESCHAMPS' DIAMONDS: Alexandre Lacazette (above) scores his first France goal, while Dimitri Payet gives a good account of himself.
DESCHAMPS' DIAMONDS: Alexandre Lacazette scores his first France goal, while Dimitri Payet (above) gives a good account of himself.
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With all their might

Guam coach Gary White (above, in black).
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Lions need goals against Guam tonight

GOING FOR GOAL: Khairul Amri (left) and Shahril Ishak (right) are determined to help Singapore end their scoring drought against Guam.

The Singapore Under-22s have played eight times in 2015, and have yet to taste victory.

The Under-23s have played three times and are also winless.

The Lions played their first international last Thursday against Thailand in Korat and were beaten 2-0.

It has been a sorry sequence of results, and while it is clear that the teams need to improve defensively, goals have also been hard to come by, with eight chalked up in the 12 games.

Singapore football desperately needs a huge shot of confidence, and Bernd Stange’s Lions have a chance to at least bring back the smiles when they take on Guam in the team’s second international friendly in five days tonight at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

Read the full report in our print edition on March 31.

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

Stange: Don't blame me if top teams don't want to come and play on artificial pitch

Bernd Stange.

When he took over the reins of the national team in May 2013, Bernd Stange stressed the need to play top-quality international opponents to help take Singapore football to the next level and climb the Fifa world rankings.

Almost two years on, the German finds himself preparing his Lions, ranked 153rd in the world, for a friendly against 167th-ranked Guam tonight at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

Hardly a name that would get pulses racing among local football fans.

Indeed, the highest-ranked team Singapore have faced during Stange’s reign is China (83rd), a 6-1 defeat in September 2013.

When The New Paper pointed out how there has been a lack of high-quality opponents for his side, the 67-year-old bristled and blamed the lack of a quality pitch to play on.

“I would appreciate if journalists and newspapers don’t put their finger on me for playing Guam or other (similar) teams,” said the former Iraq and Belarus coach.

“As our (Football Association of Singapore) president (Zainudin Nordin) said two days ago, it’s very, very difficult to convince top-class teams to play at Jalan Besar Stadium.

“All my promises to bring teams over through my personal contacts — to speak with (Iran coach Carlos) Queiroz, with (Russia coach) Fabio Capello — depend on the (readiness of the) Sports Hub.

“Unfortunately a lot of teams refuse to play Singapore on an artificial pitch.... Please don’t put your finger on me if I cannot keep promises if we don’t have a grass pitch.” 

Read the full report in our print edition on March 31.

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

Packing a punch

Female commandos make presence felt on Syrian battlefield

CLASH: A female Syrian soldier from the Republican Guard commando battalion fires a rocket-propelled grenade during clashes with rebels in eastern Damascus.
CLASH: A female Syrian soldier drives a tank during clashes with rebels.
FIREFIGHT: A female Syrian soldier from the Republican Guard commando battalion fires a machine gun during clashes with rebels in eastern Damascus.
READY: Female Syrian soldiers sit on a tank during clashes with rebels in the restive Jobar area, in eastern Damascus.
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'People need to be more careful'

TNP reader calls hotline over early morning fire at a nearby block

ALERT: Mr Azhar Safawi called TNP about the fire near his home. The report was published in the paper yesterday.
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2 crashes, 2 hurt

CRASH: A pickup truck mounted a curb along Stevens Road yesterday, landing on its side. A short while later, a car crashed into the ambulance that responded to the first accident.
CRASH: A pickup truck mounted a curb along Stevens Road yesterday, landing on its side. A short while later, a car crashed into the ambulance that responded to the first accident.
7.30AM: A pickup truck travelling on Stevens Road towards Whitley Road mounts a kerb, crashes into a lamppost and a tree, and lands on its side facing the opposite direction. Minutes later, an ambulance arrives at the scene. 7.45AM: A red Toyota Allion slams into the back of the ambulance, injuring the car's driver and a paramedic in the ambulance.
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Man attacks brother for dumping dead mum's things

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