Everything you need to know about Fulham’s Ben Davis – the first Singaporean footballer signed by an English Premier League club

Singapore citizen Ben Davis (right) in action during a Fulham Under-18 football match against Chelsea.
Fulham FC

Singapore footballer Ben Davis, at 17, has become the first Singaporean to sign a professional contract with an English Premier League (EPL) club – Fulham – on June 29.

It is a two-year contract but his application for the deferment of full-time National Service (NS) in Singapore was rejected by the authorities and he and his family had been informed of it 18 days earlier on June 11.

If an appeal by his family and the Football Association of Singapore is rejected next, Ben will have to return in December, a month after his 18th birthday.

Ben, whose father is English and mother is Thai, was born in Thailand and moved to Singapore with his family when he was five. He became a Singapore citizen in 2009.

He has represented Singapore at various national youth squads, most recently in the Under-19 team, and was called up to the senior national team earlier this year, but did not play.

Ben studied at the Singapore Sports School from 2013 to 2015 and moved to Harrow High School in London in 2016. In July last year, Fulham signed him on a two-year scholarship.

Fulham Football Club now has a page on its website featuring Ben, where he is described as “having made 10 appearances for the Young Whites in midfield in his first season at the Club”.

It continues to state: “He (Ben) had a pass accuracy of 90%…and made 13 tackles in his 10 matches and 16 interceptions.”

What does this two-year professional contract mean for Ben – who is a 1.72m, 59kg attacking midfielder?

The Straits Times reported that the move means that he will earn a weekly wage and while he will continue to play with the Under-18s and U-23s, he could earn the nod to train with the Fulham first team and even pull on the Cottagers’ shirt in the EPL if he proves his worth.

Davis’ wages were not revealed, but academy players who sign professional contracts in England receive, on average, between £300 (S$540) and £1,500 a week, depending on the club’s valuation of their potential. In comparison, the average player in the Singapore Premier League earns $3,000 a month, with national players pulling in more at about $5,000.

Ben came through the ranks at JSSL Singapore, a local youth academy started by his father Harvey, before joining the Football Association of Singapore’s (FAS) Junior Centre of Excellence (JCOE).

Fulham earned promotion to the EPL – England’s top flight – after beating Aston Villa 1-0 in the English Championship play-off final in May.

The club’s academy is rated as one of 24 Category One academies in England, competing in the Premier U-18 South League with the academy teams of Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.