SINGAPORE: Local football fans might soon get to see a Singaporean play in the top tiers of the English league.
National youth footballer Ben Davis has signed a two-year scholarship deal with English side Fulham, the club announced on Jul 11.
"Fulham FC has recently announced the signing of Ben Davis as a first-year scholar with the Academy," a club spokesman confirmed.
The 16-year-old is the first Singaporean to join an English outfit in more than a decade since national defender Daniel Bennett turned out for Wrexham in 2003.
While Fulham play in the second tier of English football, their academy is rated among the top 24 in the country, alongside those of Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool.
“Fulham FC have one of the best academies in England and their players go on to represent top English clubs," Ben's father Harvey Davis said.
“We are proud that there is a chance for Singapore to possibly see its first player in the (top) English league."
Mr Davis also confirmed that he has been "engaging with various authorities" on the possibility of National Service deferment for his son.
Ben, who has represented the national youth team at various levels, has been included in the squad for the Asian Football Confederation Under-18 Championship qualifiers in October.
"We’re delighted with the class of 2017, we were very encouraged by the profile of the players," Fulham academy director Huw Jennings told the club's official website.
"Ben Davis is the first scholar to sign from Singapore, there is an interesting cohort this year and we will see."