Like Tim I also have not had the chance to post often, but I am back to announce that the callups for Northern Ireland and Poland have been announced. And this time no one has any major complaints – this is probably very close to the actual World Cup squad
GK: Kim Seunggyu, Kim Jinhyeon, Cho Hyeonwoo
CB: Hong Jeongho, Jang Hyungsoo, Kim Minjae, Yoon Youngsun
LB: Kim Jinsu, Kim Minwoo
RB: Choi Chulsoon, Lee Yong
MF: Ki Sungyong, Jung Wooyeong, Park Jooho, Lee Changmin, Kwon Changhoon, Koo Jacheol, Lee Jaesung, Yeom Kihun
FW: Kim Shinwook, Son Heungmin, Hwang Heechan, Lee Keunho
Kim Youngkwon – with 0 apps in the CSL, KYK is unlikely to get called up anytime soon as he passed up his opportunity to transfer out of China.
Suk Hyunjun – Suk may not have been called up this time, but he’s just getting back on his feet with Troyes and it’s probably for the better he didn’t get called for national team duty (as to focus on getting back into shape). He will probably get called up in May (if he gets his starting position back) – seems we’ll wait till May/June to see STY’s choice between KSW vs. SHJ
Jang Hyunsoo – we like to hate on this guy but on the bright side, he’s playing full time now that he’s back with FC Tokyo. Also the new Jeonbuk duo is (in my biased opinion) likely going to start anyway. Speaking of which…
Hong Jeongho – the man who took pain meds to play at the WC 2014 is back with Jeonbuk and has been regularly starting alongside Kim Minjae. The duo have been disappointingly leaky (losing 3-2 to Incheon United this week) but ideally they will improve as they develop more chemistry. Let me remind you that with Kim Jinsu slightly favored over Kim Minwoo and Choi Chulsoon slightly favored over Lee Yong (not saying much in either case but still), if we have KMJ and HJH start in CB, we would have an all Jeonbuk defense.
Park Jooho – back with Ulsan after not getting any time at Dortmund, PJH’s last K League app was in the 2-0 loss to Jeonbuk where he played in MF. TBH I expect STY to stick with a MF duo of KSY – JWY, but perhaps PJH can surprise us like he did back in 2015.
What to watch out for:
Son’s contribution: the man’s in the form of his life, and in the past he could never convert it with the KNT – maybe now he can?
Son’s FW partner: Every other forward is making a great case for themselves to partner SHM. Hwang has put in some amazing performances for Salzburg recently, Lee Keunho made a great case a while back when he played alongside SHM, and KSW somehow keeps scoring for the KNT, albeit against weak opposition. My personal favorite is for HHC to start but Korean managers tend to lean conservative so maybe that won’t happen in the end. But between the two friendlies we’ll probably see all three play next to SHM – look out for who works well with him.
The midfield line: KSY is a lock, but his CM partner sure isn’t, and neither are the wing positions. All four of the called up attacking midfielders, of Lee Jaesung, Koo Jacheol, Kwon Changhoon, and Yeom Kihun are playing for their clubs and playing well (I think Kwon would be an automatic starter had the injury not slowed him down, and he still needs to get back into shape).
All Jeonbuk DF? I am weirdly excited about this for some reason (more so than the other Tavern writers), even though I realize it probably won’t make a huge difference (and we’ll get shredded by Lewandowski anyway).
GK favoritism: Cho HW started against Japan, NK, Serbia, and Moldova, but some fans are still calling for Kim Seunggyu to start. I think the GK to play in these two friendlies will likely be our #1 when the WC comes around (unless STY is still undecided and rotates them)