As we all know, football is a very physical competitive sport, so it requires high physical conditions for players. So this sport has basically become a young player’s sport, because football players will basically have a decline in their ability as long as they are over 30 years old, so they will start to stay away from the pitch step by step.
However, there are some players who are different from most people. They are against the trend of growth. They were average when they were young, but suddenly broke out around the age of 30, becoming the main force of the team and even entering the national team. For example, a typical example is the striker Valdi of the Premier League leicester city team. Before the age of 30, he was still playing in the low-level league, and he was unknown. By the age of 30, he became a big killer of the Super League and entered the English national team. It is also considered as a representative of being a late bloomer.
There are also such players in our football in China. A typical example is Tan Long of Changchun Yatai Team. Tan Long spent most of his career in the United States. He was the first China player in the Major League of America. However, no matter how he played in the United States, he never got the call-up of the national football team. So he returned to the Super League in the 2014 season, that is, when he was 25 years old, and joined the Super League team Harbin Yiteng. However, in Yi Teng’s team, Tan Long’s performance was just so-so, playing 7 games and starting 4 games for the team, with no goals and assists. So he soon returned to America.
Finally, in the 2017 season, Tan Long returned to China again and joined the Changchun Yatai team, and this time he succeeded. He became the main striker of Yatai team through his own efforts. He played 29 games for the team this season, including 22 starts, 8 goals and 6 assists. Thanks to his outstanding performance in the league, Tan Long was successfully selected for the national team at the age of 29, and represented the national football team in the China Cup.
Moreover, Tan Long later fell into the Chinese League with Yatai, and then helped Yatai return to the Super League, and he also won the golden boots of the Chinese League. It can be said that Tan Long is more and more demon, and the more he plays, the more reliable he is. And now Tan Long will be 35 years old, but he is still the best choice for the position of national football center. No one is more reliable than Zhang Yuning.
Recently, what is surprising is that in Changchun Yatai team, we saw the appearance of another Tan Long. This new Tan Long is Yatai’s 31-year-old native gun Cheng Changcheng. On the evening of 10th, Changchun Yatai team played a warm-up match with Wuhan Sanzhen team, the defending champion of Chinese Super League. As a result, Changchun Yatai team’s all-China squad defeated the opponent’s double foreign aid squad 3-1. Among them, Cheng Changcheng was the best performer, who scored twice in the competition and directed the victory directly.
It is worth noting that Cheng Changcheng was produced by Changchun Yatai Youth Training, and he has been a substitute for Yatai team for more than ten seasons. Before the 2022 season, he rarely played in the league and was basically a substitute for foreign aid. The places where he can show his ability are the reserve league and the pre-season warm-up match. And Cheng Changcheng has also won the silver boots in the reserve league, and in the annual pre-season warm-up matches, he has outstanding performance, always scoring twice or scoring a hat trick in the game, and even staged a big four-happiness, which is more popular than foreign aid. But once in the league, he can’t play.
However, last season, because Yatai’s striker was really out of form, Cheng Changcheng finally got the chance. He played 10 games for the team, including 6 starts, and scored 3 goals. It is worth noting that Cheng Changcheng scored his first league goal in his career this season. After the goal, he was also in tears, excited and bitter, and there were mixed feelings at that moment.
And just before the team assembled, Cheng Changcheng and Tan Long also took the initiative to practice, and invited the champion of the 400-meter hurdles in the National Games to help them train. This is why he can perform well in the warm-up match. Where there is a will, there is a way. We are also looking forward to Cheng Changcheng’s performance in the new season. Maybe he is the new Tan Long of Yatai.
Besides Cheng Changcheng, do you know any other players who are late bloomers in the Super League? Welcome friends to discuss together in the comment area!