Anumanthan hardly out of place
"I want to be successful with Singapore, and, of course, to play overseas." - Anumanthan Mohan Kumar (above, in red)
He was strong in the tackle, quick to get back when possession was conceded, unafraid to shoot from distance and even displayed a willingness to put his body on the line.
While the Singapore Under-23s ended the match with an agonising 1-0 loss that leaves them with a mountain to climb if they want to make the last 16, the performance of Anumanthan Mohan Kumar was one of the positives from the game against Tajikistan yesterday.
Anumanthan put in a solid shift in the middle of the park at the Ansan Wa Stadium in the opening Group C match of the Asian Games football tourney.
Singapore may just have a midfield general in the making, even though the 20-year-old did make a few mistakes and eventually faded in the second half.
He clearly isn't the finished product, yet.
Anumanthan knows this, and adopts an attitude of "learn and improve", a phrase he repeated seven times in the space of five minutes, when he talked to The New Paper after the game.
"I could've done better, in terms of supporting the attack when we've got the ball, and minimising touches in my own half," he said.
"I want to be in the national team starting 11 on a regular basis, and I know have to work hard to get there. I'm trying to learn as much as I can from senior players like Baihakki Khaizan and Hariss Harun, when I play with them."
His attitude towards improving his game is something that endears Anumanthan to his teammates.
"I think he can go far. He has a physical presence that we need in midfield and he does a job like what Hariss does for us," said Baihakki.
"He did pretty well but I think with more games under his belt, he'll get more confident and composed. And that will be good for us."
The central midfielder was heartbroken by the defeat yesterday, but like the rest of the team, insists it is not over.
And he added: "This tournament is a good opportunity for us to take on the big boys of Asia and show what we are capable of.
"As for me, I want to do well and try to get into the senior side for the Suzuki Cup at the end of the year, as I build for the South-east Asia Games at home next year."
Anumanthan has dreams of playing abroad and it is that thought that drives him.
"I want to be successful with Singapore and, of course, to play overseas," he said.
"And to get there, I have to learn and improve."