Xinjing Newspaper (新京報) has conducted an interview with Philippe Troussier, the current manager of Shenzhen Ruby. Troussier is known for managing the Japanese National Team from 1998-2002, leading the Blue Samurai to Asian Cup glory in 2000.
There is a lot that is interesting about what he says, including the lack of a Chinese Nakata, the quality of play in Beijing and Guangzhou, and the Chinese Super League’s reliance on foreign players, though I would take some of it with a grain of salt.
Xinjing Newspaper: What are the differences between Chinese and foreign players?
Troussier: There are differences for sure. From experience to mentality, there is a big difference. Chinese players could play good technical football. However, it is unfortunate that they can only play in China, and only a couple of players have the opportunity to play football at a higher level. The Chinese players are nurtured in a football environment that is, perhaps, a bit too simple, underdeveloped.
Xinjing Newspaper: How come China can’t produce a player similar to Hidetoshi Nakata?
Troussier: Chinese players do not have creativity. They lack thinking and creativity because they do not have a role model to follow. During a game, the referee stops the match every ten minutes. There are way too many fouls. The strategy of the Chinese players is very simple, they often play high ball and hope the ball lands in the penalty area. The talent acquisition standard is flawed too. The clubs choose players that are based on the standards of choosing volleyball and basketball players.
In 1992, when Japan was establishing a professional football league, they hired Zico and several well-known managers as role models. When you have a role model, you will know what to do. However, in China, there are no such models. Between the two penalty areas, they won’t have more than three passes. The referees often interrupt the game, and this is not a football match. It is important to change this type of environment. Beijing Guoan and Guangzhou Evergrande don’t play like that; those two teams play modern football.
Xinjing Newspaper: The PRC government has started paying attention to Chinese football. Did the Japanese government pay attention when the football league started?
Troussier: I think youth football, no matter in which countries, needs government support. This will allow more people to play football. I think the government, local football associations, and the Chinese Football Association need to consider how to build the youth football foundation. This includes secondary schools, universities, and basic football schools. It should also offer basic conditions to allow people to have more interaction with football. This is something that needs be considered for the next 20 years. Right now, the quality of Japanese football education system is 20-30 years more advanced than the Chinese system. This matter should be taken seriously and we need to consider the best for Chinese football’s future. The future relies on young people.
Xinjing Newspaper: Do you think the bad performance of the national team players is caused from over-reliance on foreign players in the Chinese Super League (Chinese Super League)?
Troussier: Every team has three to four good foreign players, and they are like parents, taking care of the Chinese players on the pitch. The results of the Chinese Super League teams are earned from the ability of foreign players, and the Chinese players are well aware of this issue. If the team does not have any foreigners, they don’t know how to play. The reliance on foreign players is too strong, and the national team players have this issue too.
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