Jack Sealy is hoping that his decision to sign with Chinese Super League (CSL) club Changchun Yatai will lead to him becoming a regular face in the Hong Kong national team.
Sealy, who has represented Hong Kong in 12 games thus far, joined Changchun on a five-year deal at the end of last year, but only reported to the club last month.
The 28-year-old defender played for Hong Kong-based club South China for three years prior to moving to Changchun and now has his sights set on becoming a better player as he will be going up against stronger opponents.
“I’ll be playing with better players which should up my game quite a lot,” Sealy told the South China Morning Post. “Hopefully I can nail down a starting spot every game because at the moment I’m in for some games and left out for others. I’m hoping that if I can up my game, Kim can trust me and put me in for every game.”
CSL clubs have gone on a spending spree as of late, luring players like Ramires, Jackson Martinez and Alex Teixeira to China, but Sealy is focused on Changchun’s pre-season training camp in Dubai rather than the players he might come up against in China.
“The level is obviously a big step up from Hong Kong – everyone’s technically better, stronger,” he said. “I’m looking to get as much game time as possible. I haven’t come here thinking I’m going to walk straight into the team so I’ve got to work hard in this preseason.”
“I haven’t really taken too much notice of it. It’s my friends that have been getting in touch and reminding me about who I’m going to be facing and who’ll be trying to nutmeg me.”
Hong Kong’s next 2018 World Cup qualifier is against Qatar on March 24 in Doha and should they emerge victorious, they will have a good chance of progressing to the next round, with a draw enough to see them qualify for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
Having lost 3-2 to Qatar in September last year, Sealy knows that securing a victory will be a tough task.
“We’ve got Qatar coming up and we’re just looking for a draw there and to try and go through the group,” he said. “There’s a bit of expectation, because we’ve done well in the last few games, that we’ve got to actually start getting to tournaments and not just being underdogs.”