Gao names youthful Asian Cup squad
China PR has announced its youngest-ever national squad for next month's Asian Cup in Qatar.
With an average age of 24, the squad is the youngest in the history of the men's senior team and only boasts one overseas-based player, Hao Junmin, who plies his trade in the Bundesliga for Schalke.
"The ultimate goal for this young senior team is to make the 2014 World Cup," Cao Jingwei, an official with the Chinese Football Association, told the China Daily. "The Asian Cup is just a test."
China PR is in Group A alongside hosts Qatar, Kuwait and Uzbekistan in the 7-29 January continental championship. The team hope to get out of the group and into the knockout stages, Cao said.
Led by Gao Hongbo, China PR has had a recent run of good results and are now 87th in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking - a significant improvement from their lowly position of 108th in May last year when Gao took the helm.
Gao, who has raised China PR's ranking as high as 82 during his tenure, has been tasked with ensuring his side qualify for the FIFA World Cup™ in Brazil in 2014.
China PR squad:
Goalkeepers: Yang Zhi (Beijing Guoan), Zeng Cheng (Henan Jianye), Guan Zhen (Jiangsu Shuntian)
Defenders: Du Wei (Zhejiang Lucheng), Rong Hao (Zhejiang Lucheng), Li Xuepeng (Dalian Shide), Zhao Peng (Henan Jianye), Wang Qiang (Changsha Jinde), Liu Jianye (Changsha Jinde), Zhang Linpeng (Shanghai Dongya), Li Jianbin (Chengdu)
Midfielders: Deng Zhuoxiang (Shandong Luneng), Wang Song (Zhejiang Lucheng), Yu Tao (Shanghai Shenhua), Zhou Haibin (Shandong Luneng), Yu Hai (Shaanxi Zhongjian), Qu Bo (Shaanxi Zhongjian), Zhao Xuri (Shaanxi Zhongjian), Yang Hao (Beijing Guoan), Huang Bowen (Beijing Guoan), Hao Junmin (Schalke/GER)
Forwards: Gao Lin (Guangzhou), Yang Xu (Liaoning Hongyun)