Changchun Yatai player Jack Sealy has told The Times that Wayne Rooney could "have a good life" if he moved to China but said he thought "Sutton could actually beat a lot of the teams in the Chinese Super League."
Sealy, who was born in London but plays for Hong Kong after spending the first decade of his career in the autonomous territory, moved to CSL club Changchun Yatai just over a year ago.
He said standards are improving, but suggested that Sutton United -- currently struggling in the fifth-tier of English football -- showed they had the ability to compete with sides in the Chinese top flight during their 2-0 FA Cup loss to Arsenal on Monday.
The 29-year-old said: "Football here is so different. It's much more physical in the UK. I watched Sutton United against Arsenal, and I thought Sutton could actually beat a lot of the teams in the Chinese Super League.
"The top four teams could maybe be League One, bottom of the Championship and then it just varies completely. Maybe League Two, at a push."
He said Chinese football was "definitely on the right track" but added: "I think there's still a long way to go before it's anywhere near the European leagues. You can see from all the big signings that they've got the ambition, but it does seem like more of the money is going towards transfer fees and salaries, and some of the clubs are a little bit behind on infrastructure.
"In the past there have been players that have come and seen the setup and then said, 'I'm not into this, I'm out.'"
Rooney, 31, confirmed on Thursday that he plans to stay at Manchester United, although sources had previously told ESPN FC that he would assess his position in the summer and consider both China and the United States.
Sealy said there are "huge cultural differences" between China and the United Kingdom, and that "no one really speaks English at all," but he added: "If Wayne Rooney were to go to Beijing, Shanghai or even Guangzhou he'd be able to have a good life. It's quite an international city, you can find a lot of restaurants and western food, and other foreigners.
"But when you start going to the quieter cities that's when it starts to get difficult."
Former England international Carlton Palmer, who runs a football academy in Shanghai, also criticised the CSL this week, telling talkSPORT: "The league is poor. It's poor. The J-League in Japan is better than this league."
He added: "When Wayne is about 35 or 36 and has nothing more to offer [at the top level] then come and earn a few quid with the silly money that's on offer here.
"But if I was him, I would do what Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard did -- have a swansong in America when he's ready."