Chris Coleman signs up to replace Manuel Pellegrini at Chinese Super League side Hebei China Fortune
Former Wales manager becomes first notable British boss but follows well-worn path from English Premier League
Former Wales and Sunderland manager Chris Coleman was confirmed as Manuel Pellegrini’s replacement at Chinese Super League side Hebei China Fortune.
The Chilean left for West Ham United last month and to much surprise Coleman, who turned 48 on Sunday, has been named as his replacement on the club’s official Sina Weibo.
Twitter users responded to the news with a mixture of speculation about his wages, disbelief at his career path and cookie-based puns – Coleman has been known as “Cookie” since his playing days.
Hebei CFFC has appointed Christopher Patrick Coleman as their head coach. pic.twitter.com/YB6bsQErdN
— Yixin Li (@FRsoccerYixin) 10 June 2018
Coleman has also managed at English Premier League Fulham and Real Sociedad in Spain as well as spells Coventry City and AEL in Cyprus but it is Wales where he built his reputation.
He spent five years in charge of the national side, including guiding Wales to the last four of Euro 2016, the country’s first major tournament since 1958.
He quit late last year after narrowly missing out on qualifying this summer’s World Cup in Russia. Coleman’s most recent job was at Sunderland. He left the club this summer after failing to avoid relegation from the Championship during his six months in charge.
Hebei sit eighth in the CSL table but Coleman will have plenty of time with his new players as the league does not resume until after the World Cup in Russia on June 17.
Coleman will manage two former Premier League footballers, Javier Mascherano and Gervinho, as well as former Argentina international Ezequiel Lavezzi.
While former Premier League players and managers are common in China it is very rare for them to be British. Coleman bucks that trend.
OFFICIAL: Former Spain NT player José Antonio Reyes has joined CL1 club Xinjiang Tianshan Leopard. pic.twitter.com/G1L46DVGaa
— TransferMarkt China (@asaikana) 6 June 2018
Elsewhere former Chelsea player Dan Petrescu has returned for another coaching role in China after arriving at Guizhou Hengfeng. He was previously manager at Jiangsu Sainty where he won the CFA Cup.
Less expected was the arrival of former Arsenal star Jose Antonio Reyes in Xinjiang where he has signed for China League One side Xinjiang Tianshan Leopard.
The 34-year-old former Spain international will start his career at the second tier’s bottom side once the league resumes after the World Cup.