Caltex Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou says the quality and tempo of the cashed-up Chinese Super League still lags behind that of the Hyundai A-League.
Postecoglou recently went to China to scout a number of Australian players currently playing in the CSL.
He went to four matches in total, watching the likes of Tim Cahill, Matthew Spiranovic, Apostolos Giannou, Trent Sainsbury and the uncapped Aleksander Jovanovic.
And while impressed by some of the top-quality foreigners China’s leading clubs have managed to attract, Postecoglou has no doubt the A-League currently offers up a better product.
“China has still got a way to go in terms of its development,” Postecoglou told AAP.
“The beauty of it for our players is that individually they’re matching up with some very good players.
“The foreigners there from all over the globe are absolutely top quality, so our guys are getting tested individually which is great.
“But in the overall intensity and tempo I’ll be honest, I think the A-League is probably a little bit ahead of it at the moment, just in terms of the general level of the game.”
The main purpose of Postecoglou’s trip to China was to check up on the progress of his Aussie stars ahead of three huge friendlies over the next month.
The Socceroos face England at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light at the end of May before back-to-back home friendlies against Greece in June.
“I saw (Apostolos) Giannou, Timmy (Cahill), Spira (Matthew Spiranovic), (Trent) Sainsbury, (uncapped defender Aleksander) Jovanovic and (Michael) Thwaite — I saw about half a dozen boys,” Postecoglou said.
“It was a good experience, at least I know now the context of the football they’re playing.
“The good thing is all the players — apart from James Troisi who’s picked up an injury — are starting and playing virtually 90 minutes. “We’ve obviously got the friendlies coming up against Greece and because the A-League boys are finished now, it’s important we’ve got some players who are playing deep into May.”