Speaking for the first time on the issue, Ben Davis told Thailand television channel True4U in an interview that was posted on its Facebook page on Monday (Oct 7): “I have decided now. I spoke to my family about my citizenship – I have the option of Singapore, Thailand, Wales and England. Now, I have decided to choose Thailand.
“I think this is the best choice for me. Thai football has a bright future and a chance to succeed. My parents also support my decision to the fullest.
“At first, my dad wanted me to play for Singapore, but for some reason, it did not happen. My mother is also very pleased that I have been given this opportunity.”
According to the report of Yahoo News, Davis subsequently signed a two-year contract with English professional side Fulham in July 2018. As Fulham were in the English Premier League last year, he thus became the first Singaporean footballer to sign for a top-tier English club.
Ben Davis has made 10 appearances for the Young Whites in midfield in his first season at the Club. He had a pass accuracy of 90%, and scored a storming header away at West Ham United to put Fulham briefly ahead. He made 13 tackles in his 10 matches and 16 interceptions. He made his first team debut in the 1-0 defeat to Southampton in the Carabao Cup on the 27 August 2019.
“The Thai Football Association has given me a chance and I will do my best to pay back,” Davis said in the True4U interview.
It is also noted that in August last year, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen explained further on the reasons for the rejection in Parliament, highlighting that “there was no commitment to serve Singapore and our national interests”.
Dr Ng reaffirmed that “deferment, cannot be for that individual, no matter how talented, to pursue his own interests or career, even if it vicariously brings credit or fame to Singapore”.
He also noted that Ben’s father Harvey had “consistently refused” to pin down a date for his son to return to serve NS.
In February, MINDEF confirmed Davis did not report for NS as required and had thus defaulted on his NS commitments. -/TISG