Bennett: Strange to be back for Singapore but I’ll never retire

The veteran defender earned a recall to the national team after three years and he insisted he is ready to play for them even though he is already 38… 

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Geylang International defender Daniel Bennett reiterated his stance that he will always be available for Singapore until his playing days are over.

The veteran was called up by Singapore head coach V.Sundramoorthy for a friendly international against Cambodia and Bennett had no qualms turning up for the Lions despite some saying the 38-year-old was too old for football at that level.

In fact, Sundram’s predecessor Bernd Stange was one of those who believed Bennett could not contribute to Singapore’s cause anymore as the defender was left out in the cold since 2013.

Stange shunned aged players during his reign

But Bennett never heeded the naysayers, as he expressed his delight at the chance of being able to don the Lions’ jersey once more.

“It feels strange cause it's the first time I am back here… it feels a little bit strange because it has all changed,” Bennett told FourFourTwo.

“But it's all the same, you start with any new team you just take some time to get in but I know most of the boys because when I was playing they were all sort of coming through and I played with a lot of them before.”

At Bennett’s age, some players, like Noh Rahman did last month, would have rejected the call-up and announce their retirement from the national team in order to keep their bodies fresh for club duties.

However, Bennett asserted, that is the furthest thing from his mind.

“I don’t really see why I would retire, it’s up to the coach to decide if you are good enough to play,” Bennett said.

“If you ask any guy on the street if he wants to play for the national team he would most probably say yes. I will come and do my best, if it’s not good enough then I’m not in the team - I try my best for my country and I want to play.”

After three years in the international wilderness, Bennett wants to soak in as much of the experience as possible.

Along the way, he hopes to provide the youngsters in the squad – uncapped players Khairulhin Khalid, Syazwan Buhari and Amy Recha – a guiding arm.

“I just want to enjoy it to be honest,” Bennett added. “The last three years I have been really enjoying my football… so I want to bring that from the club and do it here. I feel fresh and ready.

“This is quite a young team, some of them are at a good age but a lot of young boys as well so in any teams so I can support them with experience.

“But I just want to do what I have been doing at the club level. That’s how I got called up and that’s how I want to work in the team. It’s not about coming in and being a leader, it’s about doing the things which got me in here.”

Photos: FAS