This story has been reproduced from today's media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.
The Chinese Football Association (CFA) will send two young players to Premier League club Liverpool's youth teams in January as part of its 'Future Star' programme.
Long Cheng, 16, will join the Reds' U18 squad, while Chen Xiaomao, 14, will become part of the U15 team, Frank McParland, director of Liverpool's Youth Academy told China Daily on Monday.
The duo, which was watched by the club during the U17 tournament at China's National Intercity Games in October, spent a week-long trial at Liverpool's academy later that month and will become the first Chinese to play in youth teams at an English club.
McParland praised the professionalism of Chinese players.
"Chinese players are fantastic focused and they are unbelievably professional. I know they are trying anything they can to learn the game," McParland said. "When the boys trained in Liverpool, they played soccer, and if they were not playing soccer, they watched other players playing and then they were on the Internet looking at soccer."
According to the youth development expert, the Chinese youngsters are technically good, but need to strengthen their bodies to get used to the English game.
"They are very good technically, and we want kids who understand football, so we like their (soccer) intelligence," McParland said.
"However, the physical style in England is stronger than the rest of Europe and we need to teach the kids to get stronger bodies so they can cope better in English games," he said. "They both need to be stronger at the moment. We recognize that they have intelligence and we can wait for their physical side to develop."
Well aware of the huge market in China, Liverpool started to look for a connection with the country this year. The Premier League powerhouse launched its first China tour this summer and played a friendly with Chinese second-tier team Guangzhou Sunraycave.
The Reds' decision to include two Chinese players in their youth program is regarded as a move to further develop the Chinese market. McParland said he was happy to be involved in the cooperation with China.
"As a club, when you have cooperation with China, which has more than 1.3 billion people you must imagine there are good players in China," McParland said.
"It's fantastic to have friends in China and to work on this cooperation, but if the players are not good we won't take them because we are one of the top soccer clubs in the world," he said. "We honestly think these players (Long and Chen) have potential."
They will formally join Liverpool's youth teams in January, and will probably stay at the club for the rest of this season and all of the next one. The club will pay all their fees in England and is seeking Chinese families to help them adapt to life in England.
"We are hoping to find them a family, hopefully a Chinese family, because of the cultural differences between England and China. That would help them settle down more quickly," McParland said. "We want them to integrate as much as possible and feel a little bit like they are at home in Liverpool.
"The boys are already learning English in China and I want them to continue learning English and we will have intensive lessons at school. They also need to do other educational things to carry on their education," McParland said. "But the basic one is they need to learn English to be understood by the coaches, and the coaches need to understand them."
The CFA launched its 'Future Star' programme last year with the hope to developing Chinese soccer through sending 100 young players overseas every year. It has already sent dozens of teenagers to Portugal and Brazil this year.