- Wang Shuang recently named AFC Player of the Year
- Midfielder has excelled since joining PSG in August
- Key component for China’s Women's World Cup ambitions
While China PR have great expectations for the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™, midfielder Wang Shuang has a special reason to look forward to the global showpiece.
The 23-year-old completed a high-profile move to Paris Saint-Germain in August and has since proved her worth through a series of eye-catching displays with her ambitious new club, in both the French league and the UEFA Women's Champions League.
With her smooth acclimatisation to France, the player, who recently won the 2018 AFC Player of the Year award for her standout performances with both club and country, believes she will feel right at home during the Women's World Cup.
"I think my experiences in France will be an advantage to me to compete in the Women's World Cup here," Wang told FIFA.com. "Paris is the home venue for PSG. We face not only teams from the French league, but also from other countries during the Women's Champions League and these teams represent the best of Europe.
"With PSG, I train and play together with many European players. And many of our opponents during the league matches as well as the continental outings are European international players. So they won't be strangers to me should we meet again next year."
Progress in Paris
Since joining PSG, Wang has made significant progress in the French capital, a fact she is quick to acknowledge.
"There is always new knowledge to learn when you move to a new club,” she said. “You need to get along with new mates and learn the new way of thinking and playing.
“For me, I am aware that I need to improve physically to compete in the French league. My team-mates are stronger than me physically and I am found lacking in one-on-one tackles. My coaches want me to toughen up and play with a faster pace."
For Wang and her PSG team-mates, there is an added opportunity to learn how to play - by watching the club's all-star men's team. "We go to watch the men's team play whenever we have time. And it is at the wonderful Parc des Princes!
“Personally, I like watching [Kylian] Mbappe, Neymar and [Edinson] Cavani play. They can perform with such ease and deftness and it is enjoyable to watch."
Working hard and aspiring to improve, Wang has excelled in her playmaking role with the club. She scored her first Women's Champions League goal in a 2-0 victory at Linkoping in October and more recently, had a hand in three goals as her side battled from behind to defeat Paris FC 3-1.
Unfazed by tough group
Last Saturday’s FIFA Women’s World Cup Draw pitted China against none other than two-time winners Germany, a fast-progressing Spain and South Africa. While media and fans alike consider it a hard group, Wang remains philosophical.
“Everyone says we are in an extremely difficult group,” Wang said. “It is no easy job for us. But we don't choose our opponents.
“We do our work and play our game regardless of the rivals we are against. There are no weak teams in the Women's World Cup. We respect our rivals, but how much do they know about our team?”
For her, the current squad under new coach Jia Xiuquan has made notable progress especially in team play. “Coach Jia is strict with us. He usually asks us to play as a compact unit and he tells us in detail how to organise defence, such as positional play and link-up play.”
With France 2019 kicking off in six months’ time, Wang voiced her goals for the campaign. “It is my second World Cup. I was given a substitute role at Canada 2015 as a young player but I didn’t score. So my initial goal is to break my Women’s World Cup duck this time around. I want to score as many goals as possible and help my team to a good result.”