Uli Stielike has announced his roster for the September World Cup Qualifying friendlies. It is a squad that will please many, but still has a couple noteworthy omissions. Also, Vitoria de Setubal striker Suk Hyunjun is returning to the national team for the first time in… forever, while Kwon Changhoon and Kim Seungdae are called after impressive EAFF Cups. All that and more after the jump.
— Tim Lee (@korfan12) August 24, 2015
Let’s go from position to position. I’ll give my thoughts, and other Tavern writers are free to chime into this post by editing it and adding their thoughts.
Goalkeepers: in light of the injuries to Kim Jinhyeon (Cerezo Osaka) and Jung Sungryong (Suwon Samsung), only Kim Seunggyu was the locked goalkeeping option. The other two keepers called up are Kwoun Suntae (Jeonbuk Hyundai) and Kim Dongjun (Yonsei Uni.). In all likelihood Stielike wanted to see the two in training after he called up Lee Bumyoung (Busan I’Park) and Gu Sungyun (Sanfrecce Hiroshima) for the EAFF Cup, but not playing either in either game. I suspect that is what will happen here.
Defense: Nothing fairly out of the ordinary. The four centrebacks that we had expected to get the call were indeed selected. It’s likely that Kim Younggwon (Guangzhou Evergrande) and Hong Jeongho (Augsburg) will get another look together, but Kim Kihee (Jeonbuk Hyundai) and Kwak Taehwi (Al-Hilal) can make a case for their different attributes. Jang Hyunsoo (Guangzhou R&F) may also drop into CB, something that Jinseok has been advocating for quite a while now. Essentially, the starting CB pairing is far from decided. Leftback looks like it will be a battle between Kim Jinsu (Hoffenheim) and Hong Chul (Suwon Samsung), as Park Jooho (Mainz 05), to the dismay of some, is listed as a defensive mid. Rightback looks like will be all to Im Changwoo (Ulsan Hyundai) unless Stielike tries something unorthodox and moves a centreback (like Kim Kihee?) out wide.
Midfield: The first question marks were if the bulk of the foreign players would get the nod. And indeed, captain Ki Sungyueng, as well as wingers Son Heungmin (Bayer Leverkusen), Lee Chungyong (Crystal Palace), and Mainz’s Koo Jacheol were all selected. Lee Jaesung (Jeonbuk Hyundai) is of course picked for his catalystic playmaking ability, while Kwon Changhoon and Kim Seungdae are both picked after excellent showings at the EAFF Cup. Kwon offers an injection of energy and speed that has few parallels in the Korean talent pool, excellent for a super sub or a DM making runs from deep. Kim Seungdae is the midfield option. Unfortunately, Lee Jongho (Jeonnam Dragons) fails to make the cut, which I’m quite astonished and disappointed with. But I suppose some people would be losing their minds if we didn’t cater to the J.League every now and then so Jung Wooyoung is welcomed back after having shown literally nothing. (Come at me, Takeuchi :D)
On the bright side, Hwang Uijo is selected, after an incredible run of goals for Seongnam, though I’m slightly surprised at his listing in midfield, though I do suppose he can play a second striker/midfield role. The forwards as listed by the KFA are Lee Junghyub (we can get used to this, I guess…) and Suk Hyunjun (Vitoria de Setubal, Portugal). The latter is a fairly interesting selection, and I know little about Suk to be totally honest. But apparently he’s doing well and in form. At the end of the day, if we’re not getting Joo Minkyu, anyone is better than Wookie. Why the hell not give him a go. Unlike KSW, we don’t know what we’re going to get (in KSW’s case – mediocrity).
All in all, no real complaints except for Lee Jongho (I’m sure he’ll get his other chances with the team, but I do question the judgement of Stielike to select JWY ahead of him… anyhow.) and perhaps Joo Minkyu. Let’s go get the 6 points against Laos and Lebanon!
What do you think of the callups? Leave a comment below.