England-Born Footballer Makes China National Team Debut

By Jack Douglas and Tom Lamming, June 8, 2019

0 0

Marcello Lippi’s second stint as China manager got off to the perfect start on Friday night with a 2-0 win over the Philippines in Guangzhou.

Former Arsenal academy product Nico Yennaris, now also known as Li Ke, became the first nationalized Chinese footballer to represent the men’s national team during the win. He looked assured on his first start, playing 55 minutes before being subbed. Goals from Jiangsu Suning’s Wu Xi and Beijing Guo’an attacking midfielder Zhang Xizhe sealed a comfortable 2-0 win over a struggling Filipino side.

London-born Yennaris was brimming with pride afterwards, commenting: “I learnt [the national anthem] when I first came so it’s step-by-step. I’ll continue my studies and hopefully, in a few months, I’ll be able to do an interview in Chinese, maybe.”

After impressing during his time at Brentford in the Championship, Yennaris joined Beijing Guo’an in January, with boss Roger Schmidt keen to bolster his attacking options from midfield. 

READ MORE: Marcello Lippi Named as China National Team Coach... Again

Fellow Beijing Guo’an midfielder John Hou Sæter, or Hou Yongyong, is another newly nationalized player after receiving citizenship earlier this year. The hot prospect was born and raised in Norway but qualifies through his Chinese mother. The 21-year-old didn’t make Lippi’s squad this time out but is certainly a player that the CFA will be looking to utilize in the future alongside Yennaris.

As for the future of nationalized players, Tyias Browning, who was once thought to be one of England’s brightest young stars, has five England U21 caps to his name after impressing during his time at Everton and loan spells in England’s second tier. Having swapped the blue of Merseyside for the red of Guangzhou, the versatile defender is currently going through the process of naturalizing before he will become available for Chinese selection.

Elsewhere, the CFA remain in talks with Brazilian duo Elkeson, of Shanghai SIPG, and compatriot Ricardo Goulart of Guangzhou Evergrande. Both forwards have represented their native Brazil, however only in friendlies and therefore would be allowed to switch allegiances to play for another nation.

READ MORE: These 2 Brazilian Footballers to Play for China National Team?

[Cover image via @中超咖吧/Weibo]

more news

WATCH: Brazilian-Born Elkeson Scores Twice in China Debut

The Brazilian striker's goals came in a World Cup qualifier against the Maldives.

Don’t Expect a Warm Meal on Your Next China Flight. Here’s Why

You might want to grab a bite before your next flight in China.

China's Huge Telescope Detects Strange Signals from Deep Space

The signals are 'fast radio bursts' and are coming from a source know as FRB121102, which is located a mind-boggling 3 billion light years away.

Child Accidentally Locks Himself in Locker in East China

A child in Jiangsu managed to trap himself in the same space where Taobao orders end up.

China Ousted in 1st Round After Disappointing FIBA World Cup Showing

Heartbreak, devastation, the end of an era.

Looking Past the Stereotypes of a Trailing Spouse in China

It's not all weekday brunches, you know...

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at thatsonline for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in China With thatsmags.com

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday


Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's Magazines!

Visit the archives

Get the App. Your essential China city companion.