Ten rising stars to look out for at Nations Cup

Some of the region’s best Under-21 players will converge at the inaugural Nations Cup in Malacca on June 3-5. FourFourTwo’s writers in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore pick out their players to watch... 

Words by Kritikorn Thanamahamongkhol, Vijhay Vick and Kenneth Ho

Adam Nor Azlin (Malaysia)

This Bukit Jalil Sports School product joins the squad for the first time after missing the Under-21’s friendly matches against their Philippines counterpart and Nepal senior team because he was required for the senior team.

The 20-year-old’s versatility is well liked by the coaches and has been deployed in several positions for the Malaysia Under-23 in previous years. This is also the case for his club Selangor, where he was even fielded on the right-wing but did not impress.

Adam comes to the competition with Malaysia Super League (MSL) and AFC Cup minutes under his belt for the Red Giants this season.

He also brings experience he gained with Harimau Muda in their Europe stint, Queensland National Premier League and the S.League participations since 2013.

Dominic Tan (Malaysia)

Tan, in jersey no.3 is paired up with Singapore's Baihakki Khaizan in defence. Photo: JDT

Tan captained the Under-19 squad under current senior team assistant Hassan Sazali Waras last year. He missed the friendly matches in March due to injury but has bounced back at Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) II in the Malaysia Premier League (MPL).

Raised and educated in Singapore, Tan could have turned out for the Lions instead and this is one lad who could make the national selectors regret their failure to convince the centre-back to do so.

He is commanding at the back and has good leadership qualities. He is expected to form a solid partnership with skipper Faris Shah Rosli in the heart of defence, thus being the backbone of the team.

Tan is playing regularly alongside Singapore international Baihakki Khaizan in the second tier, and JDT’s development squad are going great after entering the mid-season break in third spot, just two points behind leaders Malacca.