Fulham’s Ben Davis, who made his first team debut in the 1-0 defeat to Southampton in the Carabao Cup last week, was seen as one of Singapore’s brightest future in the game.
But, the teenage midfielder has decided to opt for Thailand instead of Singapore.
Singapore had rejected his deferment from serving the mandatory National Service, prompting the youngster to make the switch.
It was reported that the Singapore Ministry of Defence (Mindef) deemed the 18-year-old Davis had “defaulted from his National Service obligation”. Under Singapore law, he was liable for a fine of up to S$10,000 and a maximum of three years in prison.
Davis was born in Phuket to a Thai mother and English father. The family moved to Singapore at the age of five and Davis became a Singapore citizen in 2009.
The product of Singapore Sports School development programme, Davis represented Singapore at the U-16 and U-19 age group competition.
He was drafted to the Singapore senior side in March last year, but was no fielded in their friendly against the Maldives and Chinese Taipei.
Thailand FA has included Davis in their provisional squad for the Manila SEA Games and stands a good chance of making the squad. If he is selected, it would be interesting to see how Singaporean’s react in and when the two sides clash.
Already the social media is divided on the footballers decision to play for Thailand. Some have openly condemned him as a defaulter and traitor. But, many also empathized with Davis, who they felt did what was right to further his football career.
Davis had the luxury of turning out for Thailand, Singapore of England. FIFA rules allows players the choice of representing several national teams based on criteria such as birthplace and lineage.
He is the first Singaporean to sign a professional contract with a top English club on a two-year scholarship stint in July 2017.
Davis made 10 appearances for the Young Whites in midfield in his first season at the Club.