Everton hope to widen their global appeal by supporting a Chinese reality television show that offers trips to attend the club’s academy as a prize.
The Toffees have linked up with Dutch club Ajax to back ‘Football Dream’, which is supported directly by the Chinese Government and designed to recruit and develop young players aged 14 to 17.
Marouane Fellaini visited China last summer when 60 youngsters were identified and they will now battle it out for the chance to travel to Europe.
Everton legend Graeme Sharp and international academy ambassador Ray Hall were joined in the Chinese capital by former Ajax players Edwin van der Sar, Ronald de Boer and Aron Winter as they began their filming schedule.
Sharp said: “It’s great to be back in China and working with the players again.
“I have been impressed with what I have seen so far and I am looking forward to seeing more of the commitment and drive of the young footballers.
“I have always maintained that to make it as a player you not only need the talent but a little bit of luck, as well as the right type of coaching, and this is really an opportunity for the boys involved to learn from the expertise of world famous clubs like Everton and Ajax, who both understand what is required to get to the top.”