Shanghai (AFP) – Former Wales and Sunderland boss Chris Coleman was named coach of Chinese side Hebei China Fortune on Sunday — making it a 48th birthday to remember.
Coleman is the surprise successor to Manuel Pellegrini, who left Hebei last month to take over at Premier League West Ham United.
Coleman, who turned 48 on Sunday, is just the latest foreign coach in the ambitious Chinese Super League (CSL) and was available after recently losing his job at Sunderland following their relegation into England’s third tier.
“We welcome the arrival of Mr Coleman and expect him to bring new ideas and lead the team to continue the pursuit of this season’s aims,” Hebei said in a statement on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.
Coleman takes over at a Hebei side that boasts the Argentine international defender Javier Mascherano and are 10th in the 16-team CSL.
The CSL is on a break for the World Cup and will resume in mid-July.
Coleman was a Welsh international centre-back whose playing career started at Manchester City, but he really made his name at Crystal Palace.
He went into management after retiring and has enjoyed a varied coaching career that has taken in Fulham and Real Sociedad in Spain.
But Coleman is best known for his time with Wales, where he was in charge from 2012 to 2017 and inspired the international minnows to the semi-finals of the 2016 European Championship in France.