Delwinder eyes Singapore spot

Tanjong Pagar captain Delwinder Singh has declared that he is going all out to play a bigger role for Singapore, and add to the two caps he currently has to his name.

Delwinder Singh

Delwinder, who is with the Singapore squad ahead of Wednesday's World Cup qualifier against Iraq, made his debut on the international stage as a late substitute in Singapore's friendly against the Philippines in October last year.

Although delighted to be handed that particular opportunity, the talented 19-year-old defender is adamant that he is desperate to feature more prominently for Radojko Avramovic's side, especially with the AFF Suzuki Cup looming large at the end of the year.

"Yes I am very happy to have been given the opportunity to win my first cap against Philippines, but on a personal level I do not consider it as my first international cap. It is just on paper that I featured in the match," he told Singapore national team media officer Kelvin Leong at the team hotel in Dubai.

"I will continue to fight hard to start a game for the Lions. I want to prove that I can do it and the only way I can do that is to keep plugging away and working on my game.

"I want to be part of the Suzuki Cup squad at the end of the year, and I know the only way to get there is to play every game for Tanjong Pagar to the best of my ability and show coach Avramovic how much I want a spot in the team," the Republic Polytechnic student added.

Although many players - several with far more experience than the former National Football Academy star - have drifted in and out of the Singapore squad over the past 12 months, Delwinder has been a constant. Indeed, the Tanjong Pagar man is one of the few players to have been involved in every World Cup qualifier since Singapore's second round victory over Malaysia.

Rather refreshingly however, Delwinder remains gracious enough to admit that his success is not entirely all his own doing.

"If was not for coach Raddy (Avramovic), I would not be here. I want to repay his faith in me by giving my all, be that during training or in a match," Delwinder declared modestly.

"I also cannot forget the guidance given to me by my club coach, Terry Pathmanathan, who took me from nowhere and made me a better player, and who helped me earn a call up to the national team after barely six months of playing in the S.League. These two coaches have given me a lot of guidance. A lot," he added.

Although currently forced to bide his time on the sidelines, Delwinder has at least been afforded the opportunity to train and play with Singapore's finest - an honour he treasures dearly.

"Getting the chance to train alongside Daniel Bennett and Baihakki Khaizan has been wonderful. The composure they have on the ball even when they are pressured by opposing forwards is something I am trying to learn," the grateful youngster said.

"The other player who has taught me a lot is Aleksandar Duric. Even at his age, he is still one of the best in the business and travelling with him made me realize the dedication and commitment required if you want to be a top sportsman."

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