Man City boss Eriksson: East Asia will produce 'a Maradona'

Eriksson visited Thailand and China last week as City kicked off plans to establish academies and club ties with the two nations.

The Swede told City's website: "I think, sooner or later, there will be a Maradona, a world class player, coming from Asia. To have contacts out there will be good because football is growing across the globe, and from what I saw the quality of the young players is getting better all the time.

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"The three Thai players are coming, they have been on international duty in the World Cup qualifiers. The partnership with the other clubs will see us having contact with their academies, maybe helping them but it could see some other good, young players coming to us as well. Dr Thaksin said he wanted to make City bigger, globally, when he bought the club and this is one of the steps along that road."

The Manager returned to Manchester at the weekend to prepare for next Saturday's game against Reading, but reflecting on his visit to Shanghai and Bangkok he is still pleasantly surprised at the reception he received.

"It was a very interesting week, I had been to China and Thailand before with Sampdoria, and they are big football countries now and extremely interested in Manchester City and the Premier League.

"I was surprised by the amount of people who were there to greet us at the airport in Bangkok. There were a lot of press and cameras, so it was a positive surprise but I can see why there is such interest in City over there at the moment. We already had Jihai Sun but with the new owner coming from Thailand you can understand why people are more interested than ever."

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