Wolves tap Chinese talent

12 June 2019 | Sports

England Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers have launched a series of projects aimed at helping Chinese football develop at grassroots level, said Wolves' academy manager Scott Sellars.

“Our Chinese owner Fosun International wants to give something back to Chinese football. Helping young Chinese players develop is a big goal,” said Sellars, whose academy has recruited four players of Chinese origin in the last 12 months.

'Dongda' He Zhenyu (18) joined the Wolves' academy on a scholarship last year and became the first Chinese footballer to play for the English club. Last month, Dongda played for China's under-18 national team as a starting striker in the 2019 Panda Cup international youth tournament. Playing at home for the first time since his family moved to England in 2012, Dongda missed an open goal and was criticised by some Chinese fans.

“If you want to be a professional player, things can't be perfect all the time,” reassured Sellars. “You will make mistakes and miss chances. The key is how to react to it. Dongda has the confidence to get back. He has the potential to be a good player.”

Sellars added: “Our job is to help [the four Chinese players] as much as we can. The dream is to get them into the Premier League and develop football in China.”

Wolves also signed a cooperation agreement with China's ministry of education last Wednesday, which will see up to five elite Uefa coaches working at Chinese campuses in 2019.

“We want to help China improve coaching in schools, and hopefully that can have a positive effect on the players in China,” said Sellars.