Last December, Shivan Pillay Asokan got the shock of his life when he was named in Ong Kim Swee's squad to the AFC U23 Championship in China where Malaysia reached the quarter final stage of the competition.
While Shivan did not get to feature in the tournament, it was still valuable experience for the youngster as he went into it being the youngest player in the squad. Now back with Bojan Hodak's Under-19 squad, Shivan can claim to be one of the more experienced players in that team.
One that the centre back intends to fully utilise to stake a claim not only to be an integral part of the team but also to assume one of the key roles within the squad - as a captain. Shivan would definitely be in contention for the armband and his leadership qualities may just edge him in front of others.
"I've learnt a lot from Datuk Ong and the older players in the U23 team. I see myself as a role model here and I'll to be a great leader here to pass on to them what I learned with the U23. In football I don't really see the age and stuff, so hopefully I'll be able to get the captain's armband," Shivan told Goal.
Hodak's side has been training since last Sunday where they are currently preparing for a series of friendly matches in Thailand. The fasting month meant a shift of schedule for the players, with night training after breaking of fast.
For Shivan, it is all about adaptation and he sees no problem to adjust the body clock to suit to the current situation. The 18-year-old is keen to bring his club form to the international stage after a productive campaign with the PKNS FC President Cup team.
"This period, we are currently training at night but I think that is okay. For the Muslims, they have already ended their fasting and had their meals. So they should be okay to train at night. For us, it is also great as we have a lot of rest during the morning and evening."
"This year has been good but the PKNS isn't doing quite well. But I think my form has been quite decent and hopefully I can bring that to the national team and help the country during the coming tournaments," added Shivan.
This training camp will also act as one of the pre-cursor to Malaysia's participation for the AFF U19 Championship that is scheduled to be held in Indonesia during the month of July.