Jermaine Pennant promises to thrill Singapore crowds

Former Arsenal and Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant has vowed to show Singaporean football fans the qualities which made him a globally recognised star, should he secure a playing contract with S.League side Tampines Rovers…

The announcement of Pennant’s week-long trial with Tampines has gathered a lot of interest amongst football fans in Singapore, understandably so given his playing background in the English Premier League (EPL).

There have been a lot of opinions on social media, with the optimists believing that his potential signing will be a boost to Singapore football, while the skeptics feel that he is an also-ran and is here just for the money.

Speaking to assembled media before his first training session with the Stags at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Thursday evening, the 32-year-old stated that he is here to make an indelible mark on Singapore football.

It’s about adding to the league, making it more popular and getting the crowds in

“I’m looking forward to this new chapter in my career and I’m going to try to bring as much experience and ability from the EPL to the Singapore league,” he said. “Providing skills, goals, assists, good work rate like what they (the fans) used to see in the EPL back in the years.

“I got the invitation from Tampines and they seemed keen in wanting to move on to bigger things. I did my research before coming here; it seems like an exciting league and the club are participating in the Asian Champions League as well, that’s an added bonus why I came and it’s great to be part of it.

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“It’s a project which is not just about me coming here; it’s about adding to the league, making it more popular and getting the crowds in. Hopefully I can contribute as much as I can.”

Well known for being a speedy winger during his heyday, Pennant believes he has developed into a more all-round player in recent years and is able to offer Tampines much more going forward.

Pennant back in his EPL days

“I can play anywhere now; if you want to be a better play, you have to adapt,” said the player, who was unsuccessful in his trial with Thai Premier League side Muangthong United last November.

“I can either pull the strings or play the No.10 role. I can be on the left, on the right or in central midfield. There’s many more parts to my game now, apart from those I used to have.”

Should he secure a playing contract, Pennant is hoping for a longer stay than just for a year.

“Definitely, I did not come all the way here for one season,” he emphasised. “I’d like to stay for as long as possible.

“Who knows what happens in the future? If I do that well, I don’t know whether someone comes in with a bid or will the club sell me; football is a business.

“But like I said, I plan to stay as long as possible and do the best I can. Hopefully myself and Tampines can be successful together.” 

Main photo: Weixiang Lim/FourFourTwo