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Tottenham, Celtic unveil Chinese internationals Tang Jiali and Shen Mengyu


London: A pair of Chinese women’s internationals will play professionally in Britain in the coming season after Shanghai Shengli pair Tang Jiali and Shen Mengyu both had deals confirmed on Wednesday.

Tang, a 26-year-old forward, will play in the FA Women’s Super League for Tottenham Hotspur, while 19-year-old Shen has been snapped up by Scottish heavyweights Celtic.

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The duo will be the first Chinese women to play top-level football in the United Kingdom, boosting an Asian contingent which already features a raft of top internationals from Australia, Japan, Korea Republic and India.

Celtic were the first to reveal their new arrival, with Shen to join the club ahead of their UEFA Women’s Champions League qualification campaign next month.

An elegant midfielder, Shen is a graduate of Chinese teams at the AFC U-16 and U-19 Women’s Championships and scored against Haiti at the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup before making her senior international debut in 2020.

The first Chinese woman to sign for a professional British club, Shen was almost immediately joined by a second, with Tang unveiled by Tottenham just two minutes later.

Effective as a striker or winger, Tang was a standout during China PR’s Tokyo Olympics qualification campaign, scoring four goals in five matches – including a memorable 20-yard screamer against Australia in Sydney – to help the Steel Roses qualify.

Despite their recent appearances in the national team colours, neither Shen nor Tang were selected in China PR’s final Olympic squad.

Despite a world ranking of 15 and regular appearances in FIFA Women’s World Cups, top Chinese players have rarely played professionally in Europe, with former Paris Saint-Germain forward Wang Shuang the last to do so before returning to China in 2019.

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