Former England boss wants shock reunion with Man United star in China

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Attacking Midfield - Wayne Rooney

According to reports from The Sun, former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson has urged Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney to join him in the Chinese top flight. 

Chinese football recently signed an unprecedented £830million television deal and they want to use the funds to revolutionise their game by bringing in major profiles from abroad. It will not only improve the brand’s popularity worldwide but also the quality of the football being played – with the ultimate aim of winning a World Cup.

Former Premier League stars Tim Cahill, Robinho and Demba Ba already ply their trade in China, but the footballing authorities now want Wayne Rooney to become the instantly recognisable face of their top division, the Chinese Super League, once his Manchester United contract expires in 2019.

And according to The Sun, former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson, now in charge of Shanghai SIPG, has beckoned the Red Devils skipper to join him in China.

The 67-year-old, who issued Rooney his Three Lions debut in 2003, told the British tabloid; “Football is becoming huge here and they have very big ambitions for the Chinese Super League. We already have famous players, like Robinho, Asamoah Gyan and Demba Ba, and they have brought something special.

“But of course, Rooney is at another level. He is top, top, top — in the same category as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Everybody in China knows the superstar players like him. Rooney would take this league to another level, I have no doubt about that.”

“This is a fantastic country to live in,” the former Manchester City manager continued. “I live in Shanghai, and if you asked me to compare it to London, I honestly couldn’t say which was better. It is modern, cosmopolitan and has so much energy. Everything you need is here. It is fantastic and would be a great place for him to end his career.

“Football has become much, much bigger even in the time I have been here. I think in the years to come it will be huge and a player like Rooney could help that development.”

However, it hasn’t worked out so well for everybody in the Chinese Super League; Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka and Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita all spent less than a season in China before returning to European football.

Rooney will have turned 33 by the time his contract expires and although the striker will relish the chance to build a legacy abroad in a similar manner to David Beckham, whose 2007 move to LA Galaxy vastly enhanced the reputation of the MLS, he will likely still have a few years left ahead of him at top level.

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