Teen forward Ben Davis earns spot in Sundram's squad
National football coach V Sundram Moorthy has handed a shock call-up to 17-year-old forward Ben Davies, a trainee with English Championship side Fulham's Under-18 team.
Ben, who was played in an attacking midfield role behind lone forward Timmy Abraham against West Ham's U-18s on Dec 7 last year, proved his worth when he scored with a 57th- minute goal in a 2-2 draw.
Ben's passing ability and eye for goals are what earned him a place in Sundram's squad which was announced yesterday.
The Lions, on a 13-match winless run with only seven goals scored, face the Maldives in a friendly on March 23, before taking on Taiwan in a dead-rubber Asian Cup Group E game four days later.
"We've been keeping track of his progress at Fulham, including videos of his games and statistics, and we want to take a closer look at him in training sessions with the senior national team," Sundram said of Ben.
"He is a prospect for the future, but I'm confident he can blend in well with the senior boys."
The 1.72m Ben is looking forward to the experience.
"It's been a great learning experience to play at the highest youth level in England with and against top players and under a top-class coach (Steve Wigley)," said Ben.
"I am excited and a little nervous to train with and play in the national set-up."
Ben could not confirm when he can return to Singapore to train with the Lions but Sundram believes he will fit in well with guidance from veterans such as 34-year-old defender Baihakki Khaizan, who has been recalled to the national fold. - SHAMIR OSMAN
Goalkeepers: Hassan Sunny, Izwan Mahbud, Zaiful Nizam
Defenders: Baihakki Khaizan, Shakir Hamzah, Nazrul Nazari, Irfan Fandi, Emmeric Ong, Anders Aplin
Midfielders: Hariss Harun, Safuwan Baharudin, Shahdan Sulaiman, Hafiz Abu Sujad, Zulfahmi Arifin, Izzdin Shafiq, Yasir Hanapi, M Anumanthan
Forwards: Khairul Amri, Faris Ramli, Adam Swandi, Shawal Anuar, Iqbal Hamid Hussain, Ben Davis, Ikhsan Fandi (on standby)