PETALING JAYA: Harimau Muda midfielder Gary Steven Robbat believes that winning the Singapore League’s Young Player of the Year award will boost his chances of earning a spot in the national football team for the defence of the AFF Suzuki Cup.
Gary and Harimau Muda A team-mate Wan Zack Haikal Wan Noor are among the nominees for the award at the 2012 S-League Awards Gala Night in tomorrow night.
Both the national juniors are currently training with the senior team.
Wan Zack already has a title in his bag, having won the S-League’s People’s Choice Award on Thursday.
The hard-tackling Gary admitted that he had failed to make his mark in Malaysia’s last two warm-up matches, which ended in defeats to Vietnam (1-0) and Thailand (2-0).
“The nomination is a surprise and an honour. It’s also timely as I need a dose of confidence after our two defeats,” said Gary
“To be honest, I’m not happy with my form. I had some minor injuries and missed several S-League matches towards the end of the season.
“My confidence is a bit shaken, so winning the award will be the perfect boost.”
The 21-year-old’s stock rose after winning rave reviews for his performances in the S-League and friendlies against English Premier League giants Arsenal and Manchester City in July.
The Kulim lad, who was included in the national team’s playing tour of Europe in August by coach Datuk K. Rajagopal, got his first senior cap in the 2-0 defeat to Vietnam in a friendly at the Shah Alam Stadium on Sept 11.
Despite a promising debut, Gary has been struggling to blend in with his senior team-mates and was criticised for his insipid performances.
“Playing with the national team is a big step up for me and I’m still learning the ropes,” said Gary.
“It’s harder than I expected as the pace of the game is different. I have a lot of catching up to do.
“The coach has yet to announce the final squad and we have one more warm-up match and I hope to make an impression.”
The national team play Hong Kong at the Shah Alam Stadium on Wednesday before Rajagopal names his final squad of 22 players.
The Suzuki Cup will be co-hosted by Malaysia and Thailand from Nov 24-Dec 22.