A new chapter in Beijing Guoan’s Singapore journey have commence as Tan Tiancheng, Ma Chongchong, Yu Yang, Lei Tenglong and Zou Yucheng have all flown back to China.
They are not likely to feature in the S.League again.
Yu has been recalled by the first team due to an injury crisis afflicting the Chinese Super League title holders’ backline, while the other four have been called up for a training camp by China Under-19s coach Su Maozhen.
If there are concerns over their personnel now, they are not shared by Zheng Xiaotian.
“I still have enough players to go around, so that is not a problem,” assured the Beijing coach.
“Of course, we will have to make a few adjustments in terms of our positioning, and there is that process of getting used to it. So there will be difficulties, but that is not an important issue."
But the one tricky issue Zheng may face is filling the void left behind by Tan, who leads the club scoring charts with six goals in the league.
The 19-year-old had made his mark since debuting for the Talents in mid-March, keeping up his glowing reputation as one of China’s brightest young prospects.
Zheng revealed that he has yet to decide on how to reshape his attacking line following Tan’s return to China, but noted that he was willing to look beyond having a one-for-one change.
“I’m still thinking about it, but the replacement may play in a different style,” he said.
“There’s no point in being obsessed about looking for a player who plays very similarly to how Tan Tiancheng plays. Tan Tiancheng is Tan Tiancheng, it’s not meaningful for me to stick to a style that’s only made for him.
“Tan Tiancheng is actually good at playing the counterattacking style, but he is not so suited to an orthodox attacking approach. Whoever I choose to play up front now could be better at another style; it all depends on what kind of players we have.”
Whatever changes are made to the Beijing lineup, though, they will in all probability remain a tough and competitive outfit.
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