Chinese players should go overseas

Dr Friedrich Curtius general secretary of the German football association (DFB) had advice on helping China develop their game this month.  This was that they should make long-term plans and allow youngsters to gain overseas experience, he went on to say;

"Chinese players should seize as many chances as possible to go and experience football in Europe and South America. The country should also make long-term plans for the development of the sport and stick with those plans," 

Curtius was speaking at a press conference in Beijing in which he was naming DFB named NetEase as its official online media partner in China. The internet technology company that provides online services was announcing their coverage of the German national team and this year's World Cup. 

This advice may be a good help, however, it might not go down very well in China. As the Chinese Football Association are pushing the use of U23 players in China's top two leagues.  Part of the way in which they are doing this is by tightening its regulations on foreign imports to the league. What this suggests is that Chinese players especially those under 23 playing overseas, have become targets of clubs in the Chinese Super League and Chinese League One.

A rare example of a talented Chinese player, playing his trade away from China is 21-year-old striker Zhang Yuning, who currently plays for Bundesliga side Werder Bremen on loan from Engish side West Brom, but he remains one of the few well-known young players who is still plying their trade abroad.

Former Chinese striker Yang Chen, who also played in Germany for Eintracht Frankfurt said the following on the new ruling in China.

"He (Zhang) gave up possible high income and decided to take up challenges abroad. Though he is yet to enter the match line-up, he is still young and I have faith in him, the U23 policy was introduced with good intention, but this might also bring unexpected side effects, including raising the price of young players. The players are now facing more allurements and have to build new values regarding social status, income, etc."

Like in many countries Germany also have rules to help promote young players coming through, however, these are in the leagues further down. This happened as Germany had a very poor side and wanted to find a way to improve. This, of course, worked very well for the Germans as they won the World Cup in 2014 for the first time since 1990, Curtius went on to explain this to the press conference saying; 

"German football also encountered difficulties 20 years ago before steady long-term policies were put into practice for the development of youth football. Over 1,000 training camps were built around the country and good coaches were hired to select local young talents.

You will notice that a lot of players in the current German national team benefited from these camps and training programs, which can become a reference for China,"

It is clear that the aim is for China to help maintain young players in their own country and hope this, in turn, will improve the national side. However, Curtius suggesting of sending young players overseas could be a great idea and help the Chinese learn about other footballing cultures and in turn improve their own. 

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