Hong Kong teenager Dai Wai-tsun impressed on his debut for Bury at the weekend as he seeks to carve out a professional career in English football.
A couple of weeks before he turns 18, Tsun Dai – as he is known in England – turned heads in a friendly against Sunderland, although his League One side lost 3-2.
The midfielder didn’t look out of place against a side who were relegated from the English Premier League last season.
Dai was singled out by former Premier League midfielder and now Bury manager, Lee Clark, as one of the best performers in the game, and was praised by fans on social media.
“I thought there were some really good performances, [Dai] at 17 and [Saul] Shotton at 16, both of them were terrific and it bodes well for the future,” Clark said.
“I want to build a pathway for these young players to get into the team in the short term. Are they going to be playing 40 games in a team challenging for promotion? Probably not. But they certainly showed me tonight that, if called upon, they won’t let us down.”
Tsun, a former captain of Barcelona Hong Kong soccer school, moved to England as an 11-year-old to further his football training.
He was with Reading’s youth team before moving to Bury and signed his first professional contract in May this year.
According to an interview his father did with Apple Daily, he had to work “twice as hard in the gym” to cope with the physicality of English youngsters and had to “overcome a lot of discrimination” because he’s Chinese.
Cheung Chi-doy, who played for Blackpool in the 60s, is the only Hongkonger to have represented a top-flight English club.
South China’s Sean Tse Ka-keung featured for Manchester City’s youth teams but never made a top-team debut, while Premier League side Southampton currently have 17-year-old Javen Siu Ko-chun in their youth team.