Former Arundel and Midhurst manager taking on challenge in China

Gary Wheatcroft has landed a role in Chinese challenge. Picture by Malcolm McCluskey
Gary Wheatcroft has landed a role in Chinese challenge. Picture by Malcolm McCluskey

Former Arundel and Midhurst Football Club manager Gary Wheatcroft has landed a role in Chinese football.

The 57-year-old, who is an ex-professional, has been appointed director of football at newly-formed Shanghai City's Youth Academy as he aims to bring through the next generation in the far east.

Wheatcroft was in charge of Arundel during the 2010-11 campaign, before making the move to Midhurst a season later.

A new challenge now awaits him after being head-hunted by Shanghai City's Youth Academy and he'll be heading out on Monday.

Stars of the game including Carlos Tevez, Hulk, Oscar and many more have flocked to China in recent times but Wheatcroft is being tasked with bringing through some of the brightest young talent in Shanghai.

It's an opportunity the former Southampton and HFC Haarlem player is relishing.

He said: "I’m over the moon to get the job. It is a great opportunity for me.

"Rome wasn’t built in a day and I suspect it will be a culture shock when I get over there. ‘It’s one of the best cities in the world now. I’ve been given a 12-month contract, which could then end up between five and seven years.

"We will be happy if we have 40 to 50 kids to start with but within six weeks we will have more than 200, I suspect.

"My philosophy is ensuring players come through the ranks. I’ve been a pro and I know what I need to do with the youngsters to develop them. I’m going to be starting off kids with the ball at their feet all of the time.

"There will be no running. Instead they will be improving skills and running with the ball – just getting used to them having the ball at their feet.

"I’ll probably find a few aren’t too bad. You never know, there might be a few of them in the China national team in the future."