Red-hot Faris raring to go
Sundram banking on Home United forward to deliver the goods against Taiwan
With 11 goals and 12 assists in all competitions, Home United forward Faris Ramli is Singapore's most productive professional footballer this term.
And the season has not even reached its midway stage.
The 24-year-old is in the form of his life for his club in the S.League and the AFC Cup, and wants to replicate his form for his country during this international week when the Lions take on Myanmar in a closed-door friendly tomorrow, before Saturday's Asian Cup qualifier against Taiwan.
Both matches will be played at the Jalan Besar Stadium at 9pm.
Faris, who has 30 caps and four international goals, told The New Paper: "The national team have not scored that many goals recently, and we are eager to fix that.
"The good news is, players like (Khairul) Amri, (Khairul) Nizam, Safuwan (Baharudin) and myself are scoring regularly in the S.League and Malaysian Premier League.
"I'm thankful for Home United coach Aidil Sharin's trust in me to play me in a more central position.
"I was able to learn and adjust my game to suit my teammate Stipe (Plazibat), and I'm happy and excited to contribute goals and assists.
"It's not easy to score as regularly at the international level.
"It depends a lot on the quality of opponents we face, the tactical demands of our coach. As a winger, it is tougher because you have more defensive duties.
"Against Taiwan, we are definitely going for the win.
"Whether I play as a forward or as a winger, I will try my best to get goals and assists but, what matters most is not personal glory, but the three points."
After making his Young Lions debut in 2010, Faris enjoyed good spells with the LionsXII, winning the Malaysian Super League in 2013 and the FA Cup in 2015, before moving to Home.
He had an uneventful 2016 due to issues with a niggling ankle injury, although he was the first player to score after V Sundramoorthy took over from Bernd Stange, grabbing the only goal against Myanmar in a friendly last June.
Things are looking rosy for Faris again this season, and he insists credit must go to his wife Syahzanna Hamzah, whom he married in April, and his family.
"Ever since I started playing football, my parents have always been there for me," he said.
"My wife has also been incredible. She has been behind me all this while.
"Even when she cannot attend my games, she will send me a text of encouragement, which means a lot.
"These are the people who have helped me stay grounded and I feel like I am more mature now."
Faris knows that he has to continue to improve if he is to achieve greater things with club and country.
He added: "We have not won anything yet, so we have to keep working hard, and I always want to do better in every match.
"I was happy when we drew with Bahrain in our last qualifier, but also frustrated because I sat out as a precaution for my ankle injury.
"However, I'm sure I made the right choice then because I wouldn't have been able to give 100 per cent. Missing that match makes me even hungrier to make an impact against Taiwan this week."
Sundram is also looking forward to unleash the 24-year-old, telling TNP: "We missed him during our last international outing, and we are generally missing wingers and goalscorers.
"It's good that we have some players who are on form in the league because we will need their contributions to get the victory."