By Ng Jun Xian, Owen Tan & Sugumaran Devaraja | Goal.com Singapore
In the fourth part of the LionsXll mid-season review, Goal.com Singapore’s Ng Jun Xian, Owen Tan and Sugumaran Devaraja take a look at the defensive midfielders of the LionsXll and their performance so far.
|The LionsXII Defensive Midfielders
|Also known as... The Prodigy
One of the most talented footballers Singapore ever produced, Hariss recently caught the eye of top transfer agent Jorge Mendes, who represent stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani.
The 21-year-old is also the youngest player to ever represent the Singapore national team and was given the captain’s armband last year, making him the youngest player to lead the national team on the football pitch.
Playing as a defensive shield for the backline, Hariss rarely puts a wrong foot in the game. His biggest strength is his battle instinct in the middle of the park, which allows him to move faster and think faster than other players, outmanouevring his opponents in the process.
Now the vice-captain of the LionsXII, Hariss can also slot in at the heart of the defence and if he has the chance to move overseas under Mendes, he looks likely to be the most successful export from Singapore football after the legendary Fandi Ahmad.
|Also known as... The Midfield Dynamo
Isa is a hard-tackling midfielder that has grown a reputation for being a fearsome player in the middle of the park, stopping potential attacking moves from the opposition before they become dangerous.
The 25-year-old joined the Lions from Home United and his presence in the centre has been a great boost to the team. A regular Singapore national team player, Isa adds experience and brings composure to the young players.
Isa is a selfless workhorse who reads the game well and has often been spot-on in breaking down the opponent’s attack with crucial tackles. He also charges upfront and participates with the others in the Lions’s attack. His finishing from long range, unfortunately, has been suspect - he has blasted the ball too often over the bar.
While Isa may have his weaknesses he has a promising future ahead and given more matches, he may yet develop into a midfield general for the Lions.
|Also known as... The Controller
Firdaus got himself into the centre of controversy when he had detention over a case of alleged theft back in February and as a result, the midfielder was given a fine of S$10,000.
But since his return to the team, Firdaus’ silky moves and clever tricks on the field have somewhat redeemed his improper behaviour off the pitch.
The 24-year-old has displayed both his attacking and defensive flair when given a chance to play for the Lions. Firdaus is often given a free role in the centre, allowing him to roam up and down to participate in the team’s plays.
But Firdaus certainly still has much room for improvement. Under the watchful eye of V Sundramoorthy, the Lions will certainly hope that he will be able to step up his game and become a better player for both team and nation.
Stay tuned for the fifth part of the series featuring the attacking midfielders.