Stiff competition for spots in starting 11 - Shahrul Saad
JOHOR BAHRU - The presence of foreign-based naturalised Malaysians in the national squad has certainly intensified the race for a spot in the starting line up, especially for a senior defender like Shahrul Mohd Saad.
The 30-year-old Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) player admitted that competition for all positions in the squad this time around, especially in defence, has become very competitive ahead of the match between Malaysia and Hong Kong in a Tier 1 International friendly at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in Iskandar Puteri, tomorrow night.
Shahrul added that he would have to compete with the likes of vastly experienced players like Dion Cools, Dominic Tan, Muhamad Feroz Baharudin and Ahmad Khuzaimi Piee and all of them have shown tremendous form lately.
"I feel the training camp this time has been the most competitive in terms of selection of players...but to me such a competitive situation is very healthy for the sport. Despite competing against each other, we collectively provide support for each other.
"What is important is that whoever is given the task to play tomorrow must give their best for the team,” he said during a press conference, here today.
The last time Shahrul was in the National squad under coach Kim Pan Gon was during the 2023 Asia Cup Qualifying campaign last June.
The former Perak player was not with the National squad for the semifinals of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Cup competition at the end of last year due to fitness.
Despite not being in the squad for sometime, Shahrul is at ease with the tactical play of Pan Gon and feels he can easily adapt to the South Korean coach’s approach towards the game.
Malaysia and Hong Kong will be facing each other for a second time within the duration of a year and the previous meeting between the two in another Tier 1 International friendly ended with a 2-0 win for Malaysia at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil in June 2022. - BERNAMA