Cools waits on Belgium call-up

BELGIAN-MALAYSIAN defender Dion Johan Cools hopes to make it big in Europe one day.

However, if the 24-year-old does not make it, he will likely shift his focus to playing for Harimau Malaya.

And it is understood that Cools will decide on his future within three years.

Named by his parents after former football stars Dion Dublin and Johan Cruyff, Cools also hopes to play for Belgium.

Cools recently joined Danish side FC Midtjylland from Club Brugge in the hope of resurrecting his career after failing to earn enough starts with the 16-time Belgian champions.

It is reported that his contract with the two-time Danish champions is until 2023.

Cools, who has played at various youth levels for Belgium, was a regular for Brugge before the right-back lost his spot in the team.

He had also played in the Champions League for Brugge and was named in the 2016 Belgian first division Under-22 Young Players’ Team of the Season.

It is understood that Pahang and Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) had approached him a few years ago but no deals were sealed then.

However, JDT have been keeping an eye on Cools for last one year.

Cools will likely join JDT if he decides to apply for a Malaysian passport.

“I believe Cools wants to try and play for a top European club. He also hopes to play for the Belgium senior team. But if he fails, he will come to Asia.

“I think there is a special arrangement between Cools and JDT. I believe if he decides to play in Asia, he will join JDT.

“I am guessing a decision will be made within three years,” said the source yesterday.

The source said the 1.85m Cools is well-built and will be equally effective as a centre-back.

“We have many quality right-backs in the country.

“Matthew Davies and Syahmi Safari are among them.

“Cools’ arrival will strengthen the Malaysian defence, and I believe he will fit in nicely as a centre-back,” he added.

On Sunday, Cools revealed to Astro Arena that he has not been formally approached by the FA of Malaysia to play for the national team.

“Of course, I will be interested (to play for Malaysia),” he told Astro Arena.

“I have never really had an official offer, so I never really needed to make a decision,” said Cools.

In 2017, former national coach Nelo Vingada sent an e-mail to Cools asking whether he was interested to play for Malaysia. However, no decision was made then.

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