Ex-Liverpool star Jermaine Pennant willing to extend Singapore trial
Former Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant says that he will stay as long as it takes to secure a contract with S.League side, Tampines Rovers.
The trial was originally supposed to be one week, but the ex-England Under-21 star has indicated that he will extend his stay in Singapore, if necessary, to earn one of the three import spots for the 2016 season.
Crunch day for Pennant could come on Friday -- his 33rd birthday -- when Tampines head to Malaysia for a pre-season tour. If he is part of the touring squad, it will be a huge step towards finalising a deal -- and a place in the team for the AFC Champions League qualifier against I-League champions, Mohan Bagun, in Kolkata on Jan. 27.
After arriving in Singapore last Thursday, Pennant has impressed the club with his attitude and showed glimpses of his old form in a trial match against Hougang United on Saturday night. He played the second half and set up the second goal in a 2-0 victory at Jalan Besar Stadium.
"I'm definitely happy we got the win," Pennant told The New Paper.
"The artificial pitch here makes it a little bit difficult to run with the ball because it bobbles a lot.
"But I'm sure the more we play as a team and on grass especially, we'll be a lot more dangerous going forward."
The previous day, Pennant passed the mandatory fitness test required by all players in the S.League, completing a 2.4km run in just over nine minutes, almost 30 seconds below the cutoff point.
Pennant's involvement attracted a crowd of around 1,200 for Saturday night's trial match, which is at least three times larger than the normal attendance for such a game.
Without giving too much away, coach V Sundramoorthy seemed satisfied with Pennant's contribution. The former Arsenal teenage prodigy hasn't played professional football since May 2015.
"It's only his third day here and he hasn't trained too much with the team," Sundramoorthy said.
"But already, physically he looks all right and he was comfortable on the ball, making some good passes. Once he understands his teammates better, he'll be in a good position to help us score more goals."
Pennant failed to secure a contract when he underwent a one-month trial with Thai Premier League club Muang Thong United at the end of last year.