Previous
Rapid Vienna
Spartak Moscow
4:55 PM UTC
Game Details
Villarreal
Rangers
4:55 PM UTC
Game Details
Lazio
Apollon Limassol
4:55 PM UTC
Game Details
Marseille
Eintracht Frankfurt
4:55 PM UTC
Game Details
Besiktas
Sarpsborg FK
4:55 PM UTC
Game Details
Racing Genk
Malmo FF
4:55 PM UTC
Game Details
Akhisar Belediyespor
Krasnodar
4:55 PM UTC
Game Details
Sevilla FC
Standard Liege
4:55 PM UTC
Game Details
Dynamo Kiev
FC Astana
4:55 PM UTC
Game Details
Stade Rennes
Jablonec
4:55 PM UTC
Game Details
PAOK Salonika
Chelsea
4:55 PM UTC
Game Details
Vidi
BATE Borisov
4:55 PM UTC
Game Details
AEK Larnaca
FC Z├╝rich
7:00 PM UTC
Game Details
Ludogorets Razgrad
Bayer Leverkusen
7:00 PM UTC
Game Details
Celtic
Rosenborg
7:00 PM UTC
Game Details
RB Leipzig
FC Salzburg
7:00 PM UTC
Game Details
FC Copenhagen
Zenit St Petersburg
7:00 PM UTC
Game Details
Slavia Prague
Bordeaux
7:00 PM UTC
Game Details
Dinamo Zagreb
Fenerbahce
7:00 PM UTC
Game Details
FC Spartak Trnava
Anderlecht
7:00 PM UTC
Game Details
Arsenal
Vorskla
7:00 PM UTC
Game Details
Sporting CP
FK Qarabag
7:00 PM UTC
Game Details
F91 Dudelange
AC Milan
7:00 PM UTC
Game Details
Olympiakos
Real Betis
7:00 PM UTC
Game Details
Next

South Korea warn against LVG, AVB rumours

South Korea
Read
 By Jason Dasey

Fulham teenager Ben Davis cleared to play for Singapore U18 team

Jason Dasey and John Wilkinson assess Singapore's upcoming November fixtures against Lebanon and Bahrain.

In a depressing year for Singapore football, the eligibility of Fulham rookie Ben Davis gives their youngsters a glimmer of hope as they try to book a place at next year's Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-19 Championship in Indonesia.

The 23-man squad left for the qualifying tournament in Mongolia on Wednesday night. They play their first match against Thailand on Saturday in a group that also includes Japan, and the host nation.

Davis, 17, is an attacking midfielder or striker who signed a two-year scholarship with Fulham in July, and aspires to be like Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho. He was born in Thailand -- his mother is Thai and his father is British -- and obtained his Singapore citizenship in 2009.

While he's previously represented the nation in AFF tournaments at age-group levels, the approval to play for the first time in AFC competitions was granted only this week. 

"[Ben] came last week, but he just qualified from [Monday]," Singapore U18 head coach Christophe Chaintreuil told ESPN FC.

"It's a good thing [because] we make hard work to have this boy with us. I think the team manager Rajan, and all the guys in the office, started working on this seven months ago."

Singapore Under-18 midfielder Ben Davis
Singapore U18 midfielder Ben Davis signed a two-year scholarship with Fulham in July.

On Tuesday night, Davis stood out in a friendly against Temasek Polytechnic, before being substituted midway through the second half. He scored two goals and provided an assist, all before half-time, in a 4-0 victory at Jalan Besar Stadium.

Chaintreuil hopes that Davis will help the young Singaporeans give a good account of themselves after a bleak series of results by age-group teams over the past year or so.

In 19 matches, the U15, U18 and U22 teams have won just five times, with 14 defeats. They've managed only19 goals, while conceding 58.

At the same time, the Singapore national team -- four-time Southeast Asian champions -- have failed to win a match in 2017, while Japan's Albirex Niigata (S) have dominated the S.League at the expense of local clubs like Home United and Tampines Rovers.

One outstanding player can only do so much, but Davis is happy to try to lift Singapore's youth fortunes. For the U19 qualifiers, they will be missing talented striker Ikhsan Fandi, son of national legend Fandi Ahmad, who stood out in August's Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

Ikhsan Fandi of Singapore v Malaysia 2017 SEA Games
Ikhsan Fandi, who represented Singapore in August's SEA Games, will miss the U19 qualifiers in Mongolia.

"It feels good to get exposure at international level. And also to play for the country, try to help them qualify," Davis told ESPN FC.

"My performance was alright [in the warm-up match]. Should've scored a hat trick but I'm happy with two goals and an assist."

Davis' second goal gave a glimpse into his potential, as he beat a couple of defenders before shooting with power and accuracy from outside the box.

Davis is one of 10 new Fulham scholars for the 2017-18 season, and the first from Singapore. Although he's spent only three months with the English second-tier outfit, he feels that he has already improved. Fulham's U18 side play against Premier League opposition, including Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea.

"I think I've made a massive improvement from when I came back. Started to get better and better," Davis said.

"The intensity in England is much higher, with the physicality and pace of the game. But it can definitely be improved, especially with good opponents like Japan and Thailand [in the AFC qualifiers]. Can learn a lot from the experience."

Chaintreuil says he needs to see more before finalising his opinion, but was excited by Davis' performance in the warm-up match.

With a similar build and similar attacking style, Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho is the footballing hero of Ben Davis.

"His technicality is very good, he reads the game well, and he can score. I want the team to grow with these kinds of players," he said. "He has a good potential for the future, but he needs to improve more, and play more games.

"So, for him, it's very important to play at the best level -- and England is a better level than Singapore's. So it's good for the future of the Singapore national team."

Davis has the dream of becoming the first Singaporean to play in the Premier League. At 1.72m and 60kg, he is slightly built in the mould of his Brazilian hero, Coutinho, who has scored 46 goals in 190 games for Liverpool since 2013.

"I like him and the way he plays. Stylish. He's very quick on the ball," Davis said.

Jason Dasey is ESPN FC Senior Editor in Singapore. Formerly Asian editor of FourFourTwo, he was also a CNN and BBC broadcaster. Twitter: @JasonDasey.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.