PETALING JAYA: Nobody likes to be called a benchwarmer and it’s no exception for Perak midfielder D. Kenny Pallraj (pic).
The 26-year-old has watched his teammates from the sidelines more often than playing in the field - and he hopes his fortunes will change this year.
His wish may just come true as the regular midfielder Brendan Gan has left Perak for Selangor this season.
Kenny played in the first few games of the Super League season last year and was partnered with Leandro Santos, but when Brendan returned from injury, he lost his spot.
Brendan grew in strength from then on as Kenny’s role was limited and that eventually saw him losing a spot in Harimau Malaya during the 2022 World Cup-2023 Asian Cup qualifying campaign.
Kenny hopes to get his break.
“Brendan deserved the first XI spot because he gave his all for the badge, and you can see his performances for the national team. He has had a phenomenal year, ” said Kenny.
“I worked hard to get back into the first team by giving my fullest commitment in training, and I’ve not lost that fire.”
Without Brendan, Kenny has a brighter chance of regular first-team action, but the player from Buntong knows that it is far from easy.
“There are others vying for the position too. Fie (Firdaus Saiyadi) is also there. It’s a healthy challenge, ” said Kenny.
“I will fight for the first XI spots. My aim this year is to gain regular game time, regain my confidence and composure as a midfielder.
“Hopefully, my performances will lead to a return to the national team too.”
Kenny said Perak would be out to give a decent show although they have lost Brendan and two other players - Norhakim Hassan and Nasir Basharuddin. They have hired Brazilian Guilherme De Paula to beef up the attack.
“We are a few weeks into our pre-season training now. There will be several friendly matches before the league starts on Feb 28, ” he added.
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