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体坛英语新闻:Interview: New Hebei boss Coleman "excited" about working in China

Source: Xinhuanet    2018-07-12  我要投稿   论坛   Favorite  

BEIJING, July 4 (Xinhua) -- Former Wales football manager Chris Coleman says he is excited about working in China, and that the country's target of winning the FIFA World Cup by 2050 is achievable.

The Welshman was appointed manager of Chinese Super League side Hebei China Fortune last month, and in an exclusive interview with Xinhua, explained why he had decided to move to China.

"British coaches generally don't travel. I don't know why. I've worked in Spain and Greece, and I really enjoyed my experience of working abroad. The Chinese Super League is going from strength to strength, and it's a much talked about league back home."

The Swansea native added, "There was talk of me coming here in 2016, so it's been in the background for a few years, and then the opportunity came and I was very excited and wanted to do it."

Coleman takes over from Manuel Pellegrini, under whose stewardship Hebei missed out on qualification for the Asian Champions League by just two points in 2017. The former Fulham and Sunderland boss is keen for his new charges to go one better.

"The first goal is for us to finish in a Champions League spot. We're six or seven points behind at the moment, but that's not to say we can't do it. We'll try our best to make up the ground now, but within the next 18 months we have to be looking at the top three. Hebei have never finished in one of those spots, so that's got to be the aim."

Having previously been an international manager, Coleman is taking a keen interest in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and reserved praise for England manager Gareth Southgate, whom the Welshman played alongside at Premier League outfit Crystal Palace in the 1990s.

"Gareth is a very good manager. He's been very brave, he's changed everything. He's changed formation and personnel, he's doing it exactly how he wants to do it, and you have to give respect to him for doing that. When we were teammates, Gareth was a deep thinker, very intelligent, and a fantastic captain. I thought then he would go on and become a manager."

The new Hebei boss also offered his thoughts on the current state of Chinese football, with the country having stated its aim to qualify for, host, and win the World Cup by 2050. Drawing on his own experience as manager of Wales, Coleman was at pains to point out that anything is possible when a team has a strong sense of self-belief.

"First, they need to qualify, and have that taste of success to give them a bit of confidence and belief that things are possible. When I was manager of Wales, we failed so many times, but we stuck at it and then we had great success. Nobody thought Greece could win the European Championships in 2004, so it can be done."

The Welshman added that loftier goals could be achieved with the correct preparation. "For China to win the World Cup, it'll be very difficult, but 2050 is a long way away. That's a lot of years, a lot of preparation, and they certainly take their football very seriously here. I'm quite sure football in China will improve in the next five to 10 years, so in the next 20 to 30 years, who knows?"


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