A future star? Hong Kong teenager Dai Wai-tsun looks set to make debut in English professional football after impressing in preseason friendly

The 17-year-old midfielder caught the eye for League One side Bury against Sunderland

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 July, 2017, 12:10pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 July, 2017, 10:35am

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, played in a friendly against Sunderland, and though League One side Bury lost 3-2, he caught the eye.

Although primarily a fitness exercise, the midfielder didn’t look out of place against Sunderland, who were relegated from the Premier League last season, judging from highlights online.

Dai was singled out by manager Lee Clark, a former Premier League midfielder with Newcastle United, Sunderland and Fulham, as one of the best performers and impressed fans on social media.

“I thought there were some really good performances, [Dai] at 17 and 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.”

Dai, a former captain of Barcelona Hong Kong soccer school, moved to England as an 11-year-old to further his training.

He was with Reading’s youth team before moving to Bury and signed his first professional contract in May of 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, for Blackpool in the sixties, is the only Hong Kong player to have played in the English top flight.

South China player Sean Tse Ka-keung featured for Manchester City’s youth teams but never made a top-team debut, while Premier League Southampton have 17-year-old Javen Siu Ko-chun in their youth team.