Hong Myeong-Bo has announced his call-ups for the two September friendlies against Haiti and Croatia. And there’s one shocker. Ki Sung-Yueng has not been called.
First off, the list:
Goalkeepers: Jung Sung-Ryong (Suwon), Kim Jin-Hyeon (Cerezo Osaka), Kim Seung-Gyu (Ulsan)
Defenders: Hwang Seok-Ho (Hiroshima Sanfrecce), Yoon Suk-Young (QPR), Kim Chang-Soo (Kashiwa Reysol), Kwak Tae-Hwi (Al Shabab), Hong Jeong-Ho (Jeju), Lee Yong (Ulsan), Go Yo-Han (Seoul), Park Joo-Ho (Mainz 05), Kim Young-Kwon (Guangzhao Evergrande)
Midfielders: Kim Bo-Kyung (Cardiff City), Yoon Il-Rok (Seoul), Ha Dae-Sung (Seoul), Ji Dong-Won (Sunderland), Lee Keun-Ho (Sangju), Son Heung-Min (Bayer Leverkusen), Lee Seung-Gi (Jeonbuk), Park Jong-Woo (Busan), Han Kook-Young (Shonan Bellmare), Lee Myeong-Joo (Pohang), Koo Ja-Cheol (Wolfsburg), Lee Chung-Yong (Bolton)
Forward: Cho Dong-Gun (Suwon)
Hong has said that the message from now on to players is, ‘now is the real competition’ and that ‘every position is open’. In theory a promising idea (and one that should be obvious), and hopefully all the players will be giving it their all in order to get a spot for the trip to Brazil.
In his press conference, Hong deflected questions about Ki’s exclusion citing his possible transfer from Swansea and his lack of playing time. Another surprise in the calls is the return of Kwak Tae-Hwi, who was captain of the team under Choi Kang-Hee. Hong seems to have brought him in due to his experience, and to help the younger crop of center backs continue to develop. Other notable inclusions/absences are the return of Yoon Suk-Young into the group, seemingly at the cost of Kim Jin-Su. Other Euro players have returned to the squad as well including Koo Ja-Cheol, Son Heung-Min, Kim Bo-Kyung, Park Joo-Ho, and Ji Dong-Won.
Hong seems a bit lukewarm on Son, and said that what he brings to the team ‘remains to be seen’, which leads me to think that Son may not have earned a starting place in Hong’s eyes. Hong also hinted that Koo Ja-Cheol will likely resume his more advanced role in the attack, helping to compensate for the lack of forward options. Of course more information, as the friendly date approaches, will be written about. Watch this space.
Best Guess XI
So, did Hong get his calls right? Should Ki Sung-Yueng have been called anyway? Can Cho Dong-Gun cut it at forward? Where should Son Heung-Min fit in? Let us know in the comments.