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China youngsters to get EAFF chance

China
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China U22 players to get East Asian championship chance - Marcello Lippi

Marcello Lippi is looking to oversee progress after China failed to reach the World Cup.

China boss Marcello Lippi has said he will introduce a number of players from the country's under-22 side into his senior national team squad for December's East Asian championship.

The regional tournament, known as the EAFF E-1 Football Championship, will be played in Japan from Dec. 9-16 and also features North Korea as well as World Cup qualifiers South Korea and Japan.

"The team now is undergoing a change between generations," said Lippi, whose side face Serbia and Colombia in a pair of friendlies during the current international break.

"This time around I haven't called up some of the U22 age group players because I am thinking of bringing them to the East Asian championship in December, and they will need to participate in the AFC U-23 Championship in January and they need time to rest and recover. So I didn't call them up."

China will host the Asian U-23 Championship in January and the tournament will give Lippi the chance to see the country's best young talent in a competitive environment as he seeks to build on the work he has done since his appointment late last year.

"Since I took over, the team has improved significantly," Lippi, a 2006 World Cup winner with Italy, said.

"Especially in the last six games of World Cup qualifying, our performance was pretty solid, even though we failed to qualify as the third in the group. But now the team is on the right track and there is still room to grow.

"The league season is over now for the season and the fans will be focusing on the national team competitions and supporting us.

"The upcoming friendlies will be tough as both teams are World Cup participants, and I have no doubt that the matches will be very entertaining and I'd like to see the fans support us at the games. Please, come and fight with us."

Michael Church has written about Asian football for more than 20 years and mainly covers the Chinese game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @michaelrgchurch

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