Football Dream Hits Shengyang
Former England boss Keegan assists Blues talent search.
The Chinese Football Dream project rolled into Shenyang this week as the search for top footballing talent continues.
After selecting the best young players from Beijing and Guangzhou, the coaching team headed to the north-east of China and a city which is the third of six stops on the schedule.
And Shenyang, an industrial city with a population of over eight million, yielded some of the best youngsters yet.
Aiding Everton academy coach Robbie Anderson, Blues legend Ian Snodin and Asian football expert Steve Darby was former England manager Kevin Keegan, who wasted no time rolling up his sleeves and getting stuck into the coaching sessions.
“It’s obvious the players here have come from an academy and have played club football,” Steve told evertontv after two days of rigorous trials reduced a group of 60 players to 10 who will remain a part of the talent search.
“They have been ambitious, self-disciplined, they’ve wanted to kick people - all the things young footballers should be like.
“The Asian kids are desperate to make it. For a lot of these kids, 'option B' is poverty, so if you have a chance of being a footballer, you will give it everything.”
Darby was also impressed with the way Keegan interacted with the young Chinese players.
“For a former manager of England to come and work with these kids the way he has done has been outstanding. He’s been a credit to the game, he has a passion for the game and it’s infectious.”
Keegan added: “I have been very impressed with the skills. You are coming to a place deep in the heart of China, a real industrial city, and it’s in places like this, if you look back to England 30 or 40 years ago. where the players were coming from.
“There are one or two you look at already and think ‘yes, they are ahead of the game’.”
The Chinese Football Dream team head to Chengdu next, look out for more updates on evertonfc.com.