Nazrul: We must not take our call-ups for granted

He has earned a recall to the Singapore national team, but Hougang right-back Nazrul Nazari is in no mood to celebrate... 

Nazrul Nazari has warned his fellow national teammates that they cannot afford to rest on their laurels and expect to walk into the national team.

The Hougang United right-back was not called up for Singapore’s last two games against Myanmar and Afghanistan in April, when the squad was under Bernd Stange.

However, newly-installed caretaker coach V.Sundramoorthy has handed the former LionsXII player a recall for the upcoming AYA Bank Cup.

In addition, the uncapped duo of Azhar Sairudin and Amy Recha were selected too, an indication that Sundram was open to using untested players.

With Singapore playing hosts Myanmar in their first match on June 6, Nazrul has called on his teammates to show their new coach immediately why they deserve to be in the national team.

“I feel great to be back but it is also going to be hard for me with a new head coach. I need to prove I deserve to be in the team,” Nazrul told FourFourTwo.

“It's a new environment, you never know what Sundram has in plan and he might need to work things around with different type of players.

“Everyone has a chance to be in the national squad so it's up to you to grab your chance and do your best with the national team. We all can prove we have the quality to be in the team.”

The diminutive 25-year-old started his career primarily as a winger, but has been played at right-back at both club and international level in recent years.

Nazrul was converted into a right-back during his LionsXII days

While Nazrul would prefer to play in a more advanced role under Sundram, he accepted that his team's needs come before his wants.

“As long I can play it is okay. Right-back or right wing, it's the coach's decision to put me anywhere, although I would prefer playing as a winger!” he shared.

“Hopefully I will stay in the team and do my best for the team, so that I can get called up for the Suzuki Cup.

He added: “For this tournament we should try to learn as much as we can of Sundram's plan. We need to gel together as a team. Winning is always important but we need to gel together first and this is the time to do it.”

Photos: Weixiang Lim / FFT