FourFourTwo's Asia 50: Players 20-11
Players 20-16 written by Vijhay Vick
20. Kwon Chang-hoon
Kwon had a breakout season in 2015, becoming a regular in the Bluewings’ line-up and earning a place in Uli Stielike’s Korean squad.
Breaking into the national team squad in 2015
Having been a key part of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in 2013, Kwon got his senior team break in Korea’s successful 2015 East Asian Cup campaign.
He then scored his first international goal against Laos in a World Cup qualifier in September, bagging a brace in an 8-0 thumping.
His 10 goals in the K-League put him among the 10 top poachers last year and Kwon’s ability to find the back of the net from midfield helped the Korean under-23 side reach the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Kwon’s tidy footwork and anticipation has earned Stielike's praise and he is tipped to be the next big name from the country, following the likes of Park Ji-Sung, Ki Sung-Yueng and more recently Son Heung-min.
19. Zheng Zhi
Arguably the most decorated player in Chinese football, Zheng showed little signs of slowing down in 2015 despite approaching an age many of his peers contemplate retirement, or are already enjoying their holiday abodes.
Picking up the AFC Player of the Year award in 2013
Zheng, a defender turned midfielder, inspired Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Evergrande to its second AFC Champions League trophy last year.
He was shortlisted for a second AFC Player of the Year award but the accolade fell to United Arab Emirates’ Ahmed Khalil.
Zheng had won the award in 2013, after Evergrande’s first continental success that year.
The former Charlton Athletic player also captained China until 2015, but it remains to be seen if he is part of new coach Gao Hongbo’s plans after missing the call-up last month. Zheng is China’s fourth highest-capped player.