China looks to Manchester to ramp up football fortunes

Chinese coaches hope the magic of Mourinho and the guile of Guardiola will rub off on them as they attempt to dramatically improve football in the world’s most populous country.

A group of 57 Chinese coaches is in Manchester on an intensive 12-week training and management course, part of a drive by the Beijing government and football-supporting President Xi Jinping.

During that time they will drop in on the training grounds of United and City to see coaches Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola in action, state Xinhua news agency said.

They will also visit St George’s Park, the training base of English football, as part of the new initiative run by The University of Manchester and Manchester Football Association.

The course is one of three in Britain this year for Chinese coaches drawn from schools and universities across China, its consulate in Manchester said.

Group co-ordinator Deng Shijun told Xinhua that “we have had excellent lecturers for each class and have benefited greatly from the general training”.

Xi visited Manchester in 2015 and posed for a selfie with City striker Sergio Aguero.

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