Chinese forward Dong Fangzhou says his stint with Manchester
United's Belgian feeder outfit Royal Antwerp has helped him mature
as a player.
In a telephonic interview with www.the-afc.com, Dong said the
improvement was all round and touched the technical, physical and
mental aspects of his game.
"I feel I have really improved while playing for Antwerp. Now I
am confident of playing against any team in the world," said Dong,
who was snapped up by English Premier League giants Manchester
United from Dalian Shide in January 2004 before being farmed out to
"I have also completely adapted to my new style of living in
Europe alongwith the football."
On China's chances in the AFC Asian Cup next year, Dong, who is
likely to be a key member of coach Zhu Guanghu's squad, said: "I
have never played against Iran, Uzbekistan or Malaysia (China's
rivals in Group C) so I don't know much about them. But China as a
team will try to win each game. That is certain."
"China played at home in the last edition and lost to Japan in
the Final. This time we will take it match by match and aim to
qualify for the knockout stage."
Dong, who turns 21 on January 23 next year, said he had already
started training with Manchester United. "I am already training
with them (Manchester United). My agent is working hard on it (to
clear the formalities) and I am hoping to join them as soon as
Road To Man Utd
Joined Dalian Yiteng FC in 2007, transferred to Dalian Shide
Youth Team in 2000 and won National Youth Championship soon after
Joined Dalian Saidelong FC (Division 2) and played for
professional league at the age of 17.
With a sum of 800K RMB(US$102K) on loan back to Dalian Shide in
Being selected to Dalian Shide FC senior team and had his first
debut in CFA Cup at February 2003
Played his first home game at Dalian in 2003 Asian Champions
League Group Stage, and scored a world class goal against Thailand
Transferred to Man Utd with 3.5M Pounds from Dalian at January
2004 when Dong was 19, he transferred to Belgium Club Antewerp on
loan with 3 years contract.
Dong's performance was recognized in 2004-2005 seasons soon
after Antewerp was relegated in 2003-2004 seasons.
(China Daily via AFC December 29, 2006)