National Team - Lions ● Mar 13, 2018

Fulham Teen Ben Davis Relishing Lions Call

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The 17-year-old has earned a call-up to the senior Singapore set-up after settling in at his London club, where he is a first-year scholar

Ben Davis in action for Fulham Under-18s against Chelsea (Credit: Fulham FC)

 

SINGAPORE, 13 MARCH – The newest face in the Lions den is also the youngest one at just 17 years of age.

Eight months after signing for English second-tier side Fulham FC on a two-year scholarship, Benjamin Davis was given his maiden call-up to the Singapore National Team this week by Head Coach V. Sundram Moorthy.

The attacking midfielder, who plays for Fulham’s Under-18 team, is looking forward to the 13-hour flight back here to link up with the rest of the team next week ahead of the International Friendly against Maldives on 23 March and the 2019 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup Qualifier away to Chinese Taipei on 27 March.

“I heard about the call-up officially through my head coach at Fulham, Steve Wigley, and I am both surprised and excited to have this opportunity to come back to Singapore and hopefully represent the country,” he said.

“I am (also) a little nervous about training with and playing in the national set-up! I am hoping to gain new learning experiences, both technically and tactically by training with and playing for a national coach and national players.”

Sundram explained that him and his technical staff have kept tabs on Benjamin’s development at Fulham on a “regular basis” and is looking forward to taking a closer look at the youngster.

“I have decided to call up Ben because he has been doing well at his club of late and he is a young prospect who has the potential to do well,” he said.

“I will have the chance to observe him better (first-hand) in training and this is a good opportunity for him to be involved in the senior national set-up and learn from experienced players.”
NEW EXPERIENCE

It may have taken him some time but Benjamin looks to have settled into Fulham’s U-18 team of late, having not been involved much when their Premier League U-18 South League season started in August.

The first-year scholar did not make the Cottagers’ match-day squad until their fifth game, though he did not come off the bench. It would take nine more games for Benjamin to make his debut – and he made an instant impact.

Starting against West Ham United in a league clash last December, the former Singapore Sports School student scored a header to draw his side level at 1-1. The match would finish 2-2.

Benjamin, who has played for Singapore at U-16 and U-18 level, has since gone from strength to strength with five more appearances in the league. All of those have been starts and he has played the full 90 minutes in four of those, including the last three matches in a row.

The teenager is enjoying his experience in London and noted the high level of football he is involved in every Saturday.

“We have league games with the Category One academies in the south of England, including Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham,” he said.

“It’s been a great learning experience to play at the highest youth level in the United Kingdom with and against top players and under a top-class coach. The technical and tactical experience and learning at the academy through the training sessions has been great and I am learning all the time.”

Along with Geylang International defender Anders Aplin, Benjamin is one of two uncapped players in Sundram’s 23-man squad. If he takes to the National Stadium pitch against Maldives, Benjamin will become the third-youngest Singapore men’s debutant at 17 years and 127 days. Albirex Niigata FC (S) attacker Adam Swandi, who has also been named in the squad, currently holds third spot at 17 years, 143 days – behind Singapore legend Fandi Ahmad (17 years, 116 days) and current Lions captain Hariss Harun (16 years, 217 days).

Earning that first cap would be a “great goal and achievement” according to Benjamin and Sundram is not ruling out such a prospect.

“I would like to see how he does in training and if he proves himself, he will have a chance to play,” he said.

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Photo credit: Fulham FC