PETALING JAYA: PKNS defender Nicholas Swirad (pic) aims to keep his feet on the ground after earning a spot in the national team.

The Manchester-born Swirad is happy to finally receive the national call-up after arriving in Malaysia four years ago to play for Johor Darul Ta’zim II (JDT II) and later Melaka.

He is humbled by the opportunity.

“I am immensely grateful but I don’t want to get ahead of myself,” said the 27-year-old Swirad.

“From the United Kingdom to Malaysia – it has been a crazy journey for me. I’m happy with how things are panning out.”

“It is a dream to play professional football from where I come from. I’m a low-keyed guy and just want to enjoy the experience playing here.

In this season’s Super League, Swirad started in all PKNS’ matches, and played a key part in team’s disciplined defence. Playing as a rightback, he has scored two goals and is known for his work rate, movement and interceptions.

“I’m prepared to play in whichever position for the national team, ultimately, I just want to give my best. My philosophy is simple – work hard and be humble.

Swirad aims to gel well with the team. Except for his club teammate and captain Akram Mahinan, the others are relatively new to him.

“I’m going to go there and work hard for the team. It’s a good group and I’m going to make the most of the two weeks with the team,” he said.

“The pressure of playing for the national team is high and there are fans expectations too. Malaysia are a successful team and it was brilliant to see them perform in the last AFF Suzuki Cup.

“I do understand the expectations. I’m a fan too, and I know what it is like to be frustrated – but we will work hard as a team.”

Source from: Star Online