07.01.2016 08:15 h

Former prodigy Pennant tries luck in Singapore

Former Arsenal and Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant arrived in Singapore on Thursday to try his luck in the lowly S.League as he approaches the tail-end of what was once one of the game's most promising careers.

Pennant, a former prodigy who was snapped up for a head-turning two millions pounds by Arsenal when he was just 15, flew in for a trial with Tampines Rovers, five-time winners of the Singapore league.

"They're one of the biggest teams in Singapore so I thought it'll be a great opportunity to take my career to another level, to try something new, I'm very much looking forward to it," Pennant, 32, told Singapore broadcaster Channel NewsAsia.

Tampines have been on a big pre-season recruitment exercise, and the unglamorous S.League badly needs a boost in the face of a steady fall in attendances.

Pennant's career has been in decline since the heady days when he played on the wing for Arsenal and Liverpool, gracing some of the world's most famous stadiums.

As a teenager, he caused a stir when he was signed by Arsenal for what was then a record for a trainee, after being spotted at his maiden club Notts County.

Liverpool acquired him in 2006 for 6.7 million pounds, and he helped the club in its run to the 2007 Champions League final where they lost to AC Milan.

But Pennant's career has been hobbled by off-pitch problems including disciplinary issues and drink-driving convictions.

In 2005, while on loan from Arsenal at Birmingham City, he played wearing an electronic tag after being freed from jail for drink-driving.

Pennant later played for a number of clubs including Stoke City, Wolves, Wigan and Spanish side Real Zaragoza, where he fell out of favour for repeatedly turning up late to training.

Pennant also had a spell with Pune City in India and tried out with Thai Premier League outfit Muangthong United, but no deal was reached.

"We need to give every player a second chance," said Tampines Rovers chairman Krishna Ramachandra, according to the Straits Times.

"We will make sure discipline is maintained at the club, but I won't write off a player because of what he has done in the past."

Pennant, who signed autographs for fans on his arrival at Changi Airport, said he hopes to make an impact as a senior player.

"I'm not here just to play football. I'm here to help Tampines and the youngsters and whoever that needs my advice," the Straits Times quoted him as saying.