Uli Stielike has announced his national team callups for the friendly against Iraq and the World Cup qualifier against Qatar.
The 24-man roster is as follows:
GK: Kwoun Suntae (Kashiwa Reysol), Kim Seunggyu (Vissel Kobe), Kim Jinhyeon (Cerezo Osaka), Cho Hyunwoo (Daegu FC)
DF: Jang Hyunsoo (Guangzhou R&F), Hong Jeongho (Jiangsu Suning), Kwak Taehwi (FC Seoul), Kim Minhyeok (Sagan Tosu), Kim Changsoo (Ulsan Hyundai), Choi Chulsoon, Kim Jinsu (both Jeonbuk Hyundai), Park Jooho (Borussia Dortmund)
MF: Ki Sungyueng (Swansea), Lee Myeongjoo (Al-Ain), Han Kookyoung (Al-Gharafa), Lee Changmin, Hwang Ilsoo (both Jeju United), Lee Jaesung (Jeonbuk Hyundai), Nam Taehee (Lekhwiya), Lee Chungyong (Crystal Palace), Son Heungmin (Tottenham Hotspur)
FW: Ji Dongwon (FC Augsburg), Hwang Heechan (FC Red Bell Salzburg), Lee Keunho (Jeju United)
Injuries: Kim Younggwon (Guangzhou Evergrande), Koo Jacheol (FC Augsburg), Lee Jeonghyeop (Busan I’Park), Kim Shinwook (Jeonbuk Hyundai)
Notable omissions: Kim Bokyung (Jeonbuk Hyundai), Park Chuyoung (FC Seoul)
Goalkeepers: Familiar faces here, so not that much too say, though surprising to see 4 goalkeepers selected. Is a starting cap in line for Daegu’s Cho Hyunwoo, who’s now been called up to his second national team training camp?
Defenders: More familiar faces. On one hand, this can be understood – we all know that it takes time for defenders to develop chemistry and get used to one other, and that it takes just one weak link for a defensive line to crumble, hence the need for coherence. On the other hand, it is mind-bogglingly frustrating that our current first choice centreback pairing (Hong Jeongho and Jang Hyunsoo) have between them only 8 starts this season – Hong not having played since April and Jang with a solitary start all season… in the CSL.
Perhaps, Steve Han, as he often does, has a point on other centrebacks being wrongfully ignored…
On the wing back positions, I do think Stielike’s missed a chance to call-up promising fullback Chung Woon of Jeju who has impressed with his penetrative attacking ability. That said, I guess it’s fair enough since Kim Jinsu has a major opportunity to re-consolidate himself as the KNT’s starting leftback after a bright comeback season in the K League so far and Park Jooho’s invisible Dortmund year.
Midfield: Lee Myungjoo of Al-Ain seems to have earned a well deserved return to the national team. That elusive perfect partner to Ki Sungyueng has never really come about. We got a look at Lee during the 2016 Asian Champions Leaegue finals and he certainly took on a more defensive role and was fairly effective at it. It will be interesting to see what he can bring to the set-up.
Steve Han also reported that Lee Chungyong, despite seldom featuring for Crystal Palace, returns to the national team by popular request:
But given Koo Jacheol’s absence, and Lee’s rustiness, could it be time for Lee Jaesung to finally step into a deserved first team role? He’s shown in the K League that he simply is on a class of his own:
Forwards: Kim Shinwook picked up a knock and though he’s back in the squad for Jeonbuk, Stielike has opted not to include him. A change of philosophy? Questionable fitness? Both? Meanwhile, Busan’s Lee Jeonghyeop is also injured. Enter Lee Keunho, who many have dubbed to be a K League has-been but now making a highly unexpected return to the national team.
On Son Heungmin:
“While Harry Kane was injured, Son Heungmin played up top as the striker. I’m not worried about his position ; he can play anywhere.”
On Lee Changmin/Hwang Ilsoo/Lee Keunho:
“I saw the Jeju players in the K League and as the remaining team in the ACL and they impressed me. Lee Keunho also is doing considerably better than he has been in Qatar and has showed sharp, penetrative play.”