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China Daily Website

China's soccer should learn from Japan: Charlton

Updated: 2013-08-01 16:36
By Sun Xiaochen (

British soccer legend and Laureus World Sports Academy member Sir Bobby Charlton said China should follow the example of Japan if it vows to improve the level of the sport.

“China should look at the Japanese model,” Charlton said during a visit to the Laureus-supported Operation Breakthrough project in Hong Kong.

“They (the Chinese national team) have had big name coaches for their national team, but I think they are getting the cart before the horse. They have to start at the beginning with grassroots.”

Working in partnership with the Hong Kong police, Operation Breakthrough uses sport to help rehabilitate youngsters who have either been arrested by the police for minor offenses or have been identified by schools or social workers as being at-risk.

During the visit, Charlton chatted with many soccer-enthusiastic youngsters.

“China has coaches, who are trying to get the best out of the game, but they must look sometimes at the Japanese and think to themselves that maybe we should be more aggressive like them.

“Japan started off by getting the right coaches, grassroots coaches. Now … (soccer) in Japan is booming. A few players are going to professional clubs in the UK, in Italy, and when they play at international level they can compete with anyone.”

On David Beckham, Charlton said: “David Beckham, who is now an ambassador for the Chinese Super League, will give them publicity. He was a good player and whenever you put him on the field he will do his best.”