BEIJING (Reuters) – China coach Alain Perrin put his faith in the nation’s youngsters when he named his 23-man squad for next month’s Asian Cup campaign on Wednesday.
The Frenchman’s only selection aged over 30 was captain and 2013 Asian Football Confederation Player of the Year Zheng Zie.
The Guangzhou Evergrande midfielder is joined by six of his club team mates in the squad for the Jan 9-31 tournament, where China have been drawn in Group B alongside Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan and North Korea.
Shandong Luneng winger Liu Binbin, Jiangsu Sainty defender Li Ang and Guangzhou midfielder Liao Lisheng are three of the most inexperienced members of the travelling party, with the 21-year-olds notching only a handful of caps between them.
Zheng’s Guangzhou team mate Gao Lin will be expected to help guide the youthful lineup in Australia, with the talented striker one of the more established selections in the 23.
China have twice finished Asian Cup runners-up in Singapore in 1984 and at home in 2004.