Li Ke to be the first naturalized player in Chinese national soccer team

Source: Xinhua| 2019-05-30 17:06:48|Editor: ZX
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BEIJING, May 30 (Xinhua) -- Beijing Guoan's midfielder Li Ke will become the first naturalized player ever to enter the Chinese men's national team as the Chinese Football Association released the new 24-man squad called up by newly returned head coach Marcelo Lippi here on Thursday.

The former Arsenal and Brentford player Li, whose English name is Nicholas Yennaris, joined Beijing Guoan in January this year and has taken Chinese citizenship.

The legendary Italian coach Lippi, who has been re-appointed head coach of the Chinese men's national team last Friday, has selected Li and his five Guoan teammates in his new 24-man squad, which gives the 26-year-old London-born the historic opportunity to be the first naturalized player to wear the Team Dragon jersey.

In addition, Chinese Super league powerhouses Guangzhou Evergrande have seven players in the list including 38-year-old captain Zheng Zhi.

Lippi and his players will assemble on June 3 in Guangzhou to prepare for the friendly matches with the Phillipines and Kyrgyzstan and the upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifiers in September.