Boateng keen on S-League

Like a growing number of ageing former English Premier League (EPL) stars, George Boateng found himself winding down his playing days in Asia.

But when the 38-year-old Dutchman speaks of a desire to land a coaching role at a Great Eastern-Yeo's S-League club, he is not thinking about one last big payday.

For him, it would represent a new beginning - one that he believes will lead him to managing an EPL side in the not-so-distant future.

"Maybe my predecessors came for different motives," said the Malaysian Super League T-Team midfielder, who is in town on vacation.

"If I were to get a job here in Singapore, it's not because of money; it's because of the driving force within me that I want to achieve something.

"I'm going to use this as a step up and I guarantee you - in the next five years, I'm going to be an EPL manager."

Make no mistake, England's top flight is where the former Dutch international feels he belongs. After all, he did spend the best part of 13 seasons plying his trade with Coventry, Aston Villa, Middlesbrough and Hull.

In fact, Boateng held the league record for number of appearances by a foreign outfield player until last November, when Everton's Sylvain Distin clocked up match No. 385 to break his record.

Now, with his one-year contract with T-Team expiring at the end of the month, the smooth-talking father of two is ready to take on a new challenge.

"I can see myself playing another season quite comfortably and then moving on to managing," said Boateng, who holds a Uefa 'A' coaching licence.

"It would be great if an opportunity arises for me to coach or be a player-coach here."

There are, however, likely to be few openings in the S-League.

With the season ended on Wednesday, only champions Tampines Rovers have confirmed that they are searching for a new coach.

And the Stags are believed to be in the market for a local trainer, with assistant coach Rafi Ali and Woodlands Wellington's Salim Moin among the names that have been linked with the post.

But Boateng believes that his time in England would stand him in good stead with local fans.

"Singapore fans are massive followers of the EPL," he said, recalling his visit with T-Team earlier this year, when a fan turned up with two Aston Villa shirts with his name emblazoned across the back for him to sign.

"In terms of experience and quality, I can contribute to the S-League. Also, a lot of young players would have seen me play in the EPL and that would be a source of inspiration for them."

Perhaps more importantly, though, Boateng vowed to bring with him a dose of Total Football made famous by his fellow countrymen at the 1974 World Cup.

"That's what I was brought up on and that's what I will base my team on," said the former Feyenoord man.

"Attacking football will be the key - because us Dutch cannot defend to save our lives."

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