Date: 7th July 2009 at 2:01pm
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Former City utility man Sun Jihai has headed off back to China at the age of 31.

Sinbad sent us the following…

Sheffield United manager, Kevin Blackwell has released Sun to return home for ‘family reasons’ after the defender had been ousted from the Blades first team by the rising star Kyle Naughton.

Sun had two stints in the English top tier. The first was with Crystal Palace in the old First Division in 1999, starting three times. After another spell home in China he was recruited to Manchester City in the last year of the First Division by Kevin Keegan.

Keegan seemed determined to man the City first team with a representative from a different country in every position with his own version of Galacticoes. Keegan and later, Stuart Pearce, gave Sun 133 appearances over six years in the Premiership, during which Sun scored seven goals. Mostly he played as right back, but occasionally in midfield and as defensive sub covering across the back four.

As a fan I often felt Sun was likely to perform a lunging two -footed tackle at any time. But he always gave 100% of what he had. His positional sense was often unreliable as he was prone to runs down the right wing with little thought for defensive duties. But then with Keegan as manager.

Sun also had a long international career with 72 games for China.

Sun was rarely given the chance to shine under Sven Goran Eriksson. Though he came on for the last minutes of City’s great Old Trafford win in the Munich 50th Anniversary Derby.

So long, Sun, it was fun.