Guangzhou Evergrande defender Tyias Browning is the latest addition to China’s growing corps of naturalized soccer players. News that the Liverpool-born center back has become a Chinese citizen was released by Guangzhou Daily earlier this week.
Browning, whose Chinese name is Jiang Guangtai, qualifies to play for China through his grandfather. He previously played for England international youth teams, which complicates whether he will, in fact, be able to play for the national team, though it is reported that Browning’s legal team is currently working on the issue.
The news means that China may soon have four nationalized footballers to choose from – John Hou Saeter, Elkeson, Nico Yennaris and Browning. Browning is, however, the first naturalized defender for the China national team, something that has local media and netizens excited.
One Weibo user wrote “I look forward to him joining the national football team to strengthen the defensive line,” while Beijing-based media outlet PF-Player wrote about how Browning will strengthen to China’s weak defense.
Since joining Guangzhou Evergrande for an undisclosed fee in February earlier this year, rumors have been abound that the former England Under-21 would be naturalized in order to play for China’s senior football team. He is the second Evergrande player, after Brazilian striker Elkeson, to be naturalized, while rumors are also adrift that another Brazilian, Alan, will be the next player for the seven-time CSL champions to be naturalized.
That’s obviously good news for Fabio Cannavaro’s team, which reportedly enforced a rule allowing just two foreign players to take to the pitch at a time, one player less than the standard three-player rule enforced by the Chinese Football Association.
[Cover image via Sina Sports/Weibo]