Thwaite tips more Aussies to make move to China

Australian defender Michael Thwaite believes the big-spending of Chinese clubs isn’t going to end anytime soon and expects many more of his countrymen to make the move to China.

Michael Thwaite

Michael Thwaite playing in the Socceroos' match against Oman in 2013. Source: Getty Images

Thwaite, who has just finished his first season with Chinese Super League side Liaoning Whowin told the the fast-improving standard of football, as well as big investment into the game makes China a great opportunity for Australian players.

“Financially you can set yourself up in China much better than you can in Australia or even in Europe,” the 33-year-old said.

“There is so much money being spent on football in China with foreign coaches and players being brought in to help fast track the development of the game.

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“With new TV deals and future expansion of the league in coming years we won’t see the money dry up any time soon.”

While there has been an influx of big name international stars to the Chinese Super League in recent times including Hulk, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Gervinho and Alex Teixeira, Thwaite said there is a strong appreciation for Australian players.

The likes of Dario Vidosic (Liaoning Whowin) and Socceroos defenders Matthew Spiranovic (Hangzhou Greentown) and Trent Sainsbury (Jiangsu Suning) are currently among the Australians playing in China.

“My club Liaoning has a history of signing Aussies with six or seven playing for the club over the past few years,” he said.

“I think at the moment the whole back four of the Socceroos is playing in China.

“Chinese clubs like the Australian style and it has opened up plenty of opportunities.”



While the big dollars on offer can be hard to turn down, Thwaite said playing in China presented its own unique challenges.

“Moving to the CSL can be a big culture shock for any player,” he said.

“Obvious things like adapting to a new language, food and culture are always difficult but other things like being away from your family and the high expectations placed on foreign players make it difficult at times.

“As a player the pinnacle is still to play in Europe but China offers a great opportunity to Australian players and it is a move I’m happy I made.” 

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2 min read
Published 9 November 2016 at 4:37pm
By Nick Houghton