SELANGOR II youth players, including national Under-18 (U-18) sensation striker Luqman Hakim Shamsudin, will have the chance to be absorbed into the Selangor main squad this season.
Selangor head coach B Sathianathan did not deny that it is also to fulfil the wishes of some supporters of the Red Giants squad who would like to see more young players, especially Luqman Hakim, to be given playing time in the main squad.
Sathianathan said he believes in being open in giving young players the opportunity to prove themselves at the highest level, but players must earn his trust and confidence first.
“I have given opportunities to Indra Putra Mahayuddin, Muhammad Shukor Adan, Hairuddin Omar and many other young players.
I don’t mind (absorbing young players) at all, but I won’t do it based on their popularity.
“To me, the great performances shown in the last six to eight months are now history. I want to see what they are able to bring to the table now. I am waiting for a feedback from Selangor II head coach Michael Feichtenbeiner. Based on reports and observation, I have selected five players,” he told Bernama yesterday.
The 62-year-old coach said U-18 national captain Muhammad Mukhairi Ajmal Mahadi is one of the five players from the Selangor II youth team he has his eyes on.
Luqman Hakim, who is reportedly considering an offer to join the Belgian First Division team KV Kortrijk, as well as several other European clubs, stands a good chance of being absorbed into the Selangor squad if he excels in the currently postponed Premier League campaign with Selangor II.
Sathianathan said young players need to challenge themselves and prove their ability to get into the main squad, grabbing the positions usually filled by import players.
“Opportunities are there, but they have to prove themselves. They cannot rely on popularity alone. Players have to show their mettle on the field for me to absorb them into the Selangor main squad. Anyone in Selangor II including older players stands a chance if he plays well.
“Being 18 or 19 is not considered young anymore, what I do is I include a vastly talented player into the team to see if he is any better than import players who play in the same position. Secondly, does he shine in Selangor II?
Selangor is currently in fifth place in the Super League, five points behind leaders Johor Darul Ta’zim FC, after recording one win and two draws in the early season matches. — Bernama