BEIJING - China on Tuesday announced its 23-man squad for the 2015 Asian Cup to be held in Australia in January.
The 2013 Asian player of the year Zheng Zhi, who plays for club giants Guangzhou Evergrande, will bolster the midfield.
Zheng was a hit with fans during nearly three seasons at Charlton Athletic and a year with Scottish giants Celtic before returning to China to join Guangzhou Evergrande in 2010.
Also bringing an international flavour is midfielder Hao Junmin, who made 14 league appearances for Germany's Schalke 04 in 2010 and 2011.
The roster also includes Guangzhou Evergrande striker Gao Lin and his midfield teammate Zhang Linpeng, whose red carding this year damaged their teams bid for the AFC Champions League title.
He is joined at the front by Yang Xu, who plays for Shandong Luneng at home and scored in China's build-up for the Cup in a 3-0 over Thailand in October.
Young midfielder Li Binbin will make his cup debut after a strong domestic season.
Former Lyon boss Alain Perrin is China's coach following a lengthy search to replace Spaniard Jose Antonio Camacho, sacked after a humiliating 5-1 defeat by Thailand last June.
China survived an almighty scare before scraping into the Asian Cup on goal difference thanks to a late penalty in their 3-1 defeat to Iraq in March.
The 3-1 defeat to Iraq made for a chastening start for the newly hired Perrin, whose team barely avoided missing out on the Asian Cup for the first time since the 1970s.
Despite wealthy Guangzhou's emergence as kings of Asian club football, China have a woeful record at national level.
China, who won only two of their six qualifiers, will have their work cut out at next year's tournament in Australia with heavy-duty competition in the form of the hosts, defending champions Japan and South Korea.
China squad: Goalkeepers - Wang Dalei (Shandong Luneng), Zeng Cheng (Guangzhou Evergrande), Yan Junling (Shanghai SIPG) Defenders - Zhang Linpeng (Guangzhou Evergrande), Ren Hang (Jiangsu Guoxin-Sainty), Zhang Chengdong (Beijing Guoan), Jiang Zhipeng (Guangzhou R&F), Mei Fang (Guangzhou Evergrande), Ji Xiang (Jiangsu Guoxin-Sainty), Li Ang (Jiangsu Guoxin-Sainty) Midfielders - Zheng Zhi (Guangzhou Evergrande), Wu Xi (Jiangsu Guoxin-Sainty), Hao Junmin (Shandong Luneng), Yu Hanchao (Guangzhou Evergrande), Wu Lei (Shanghai SIPG), Yu Hai (Guizhou Renhe), Sun Ke (Jiangsu Guoxin-Sainty), Liu Jianye (Jiangsu Guoxin-Sainty), Liu Binbin (Shandong Luneng), Liao Lisheng (Guangzhou Evergrande), Cai Huikang (Shanghai SIPG) Forwards - Gao Lin (Guangzhou Evergrande), Yang Xu (Shandong Luneng)