Stuart’s little steps to a national team place

Welcome aboard: Stuart Wilkin (right) greets FAM president Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin.

PETALING JAYA: England-born Sabah midfielder Stuart Wilkin has been called up to the Harimau Malaya squad for the first time – and he believes national coach Kim Pan-gon will make him a better player.

The Sabah midfielder, who had had just four sessions under the South Korean, hopes to refine his game further under the coach’s tutelage.

The 24-year-old knows it won’t be easy breaking into the first team – he has to compete with the likes of Brendan Gan, Lee Tuck, David Rowley, Mukhairi Ajmal Mahadi and Aliff Haiqal Lau.

Stuart, however, believes he can impress Pan-gon.

“I’m incredibly proud to be have been called up to this camp. It’s special for me and the family. I’m here to do my best and work hard for the country,” he said.

“I have learnt a lot from the coach. I understand my role and what kind of football he wants.

“There are many good players in the squad but competition is good. There are lots of new faces and that’s also a good thing for Malaysian football. There won’t be complacency.’’

This season, playing in the centre of midfield, Stuart has featured in 25 games for Sabah, and started in 21.

He also scored twice, but he is more well known for his ability to break open defences with his passes.“I think I did the right thing to come to Sabah and prove myself in the Super League. I had a good season with Sabah,” said the Southampton FC academy product who had earlier signed for Johor Darul Ta’zim.

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