The Tavern Olympics Preview: Tim, Jae, and Jinseok’s Rosters

Shin Taeyong is slated to announce his final 18-man Olympic roster on the 27th. All we know so far is that the wildcards are pretty much certain to be Son Heung Min, Jang Hyun Soo, and Suk Hyun Jun. So the first installment of the OFFICIAL TAVERN OF THE TAEGUK WARRIORS RIO 2016 PREVIEW SERIES we would like to share with our readers the 18 players that WE would bring to Rio if we were Shin Tae Yong. Today we start with Tim’s, Jae’s and my own 18-man lineups. Incidentally, they were pretty similar. Perhaps the other Tavern writers might have slightly different choices. Stay tuned!

Jinseok and Tim's RosterJaes Roster
GKKim Dong JunKim Dongjun
GKGu Sung YoonGu Sangyoon
DFShim Sang MinShim Sangmin
DFLee Seul ChanLee Seulchan
DFSeo Young JaeGu Hyunjun
DFJung Seung HyunJung Seunghyun
DFChoi Kyu BaekChoi Kyubaek
DFJang Hyun SooJang Hyunsoo
MFLee Chan DongLee Chandong
MFPark Yong WooPark Yongwoo
MFLee Chang MinHan Chanhee
MFMoon Chang JinMoon Changjin
MFKwon Chang HoonKwon Changhoon
MFRyu Seung WooRyu Seungwoo
MFKim Seung JunKim Seungjun
MFSon Heung MinSon Heungmin
FWSuk Hyun JunSuk Hyunjun
FWHwang Hee ChanHwang Heechan


Tim: Pretty straightforward. Kim Dongjun is an absolute stud – starting regularly from Seongnam FC, and he is the answer. Obviously a young keeper so much to learn, and he certainly makes mistakes from time to time, but he’s acrobatic and has great reflexes. Gu Sungyun is a logical second choice as Lee Changgeun’s sort of vanished from the U23 scene and indeed from the Busan I’Park scene. (Jae’s note – Lee Changgeun has been playing with Busan’s R League team, and is clearly out of favor with a certain coach that I would love to see sacked.)

Jinseok: Once again, the GK’s are pretty obviously going to be Kim Dong Jun and Gu Sung Yoon with KDJ as the trusty starter. That being said, GSY has been playing very well in Japan – he’s a more than reliable backup to the new Seongnam #1.


Tim: Hong Myungbo took 6 defenders to London in 2012, and that’s a very logical selection. Aside from the starting 4 players in the back line, you need 2 other players to cover in the fullback positions, one of whom also needs to be able to play centreback. This defensive selection respects that logic. The starting leftback will be FC Seoul’s Shim Sangmin, but he’s not really my preferred fullback of the two – Jeonnam’s Lee Seulchan, over on the right side, is far more adventurous and exciting to watch. If he has a good tournament, Stielike might be tempted to start considering him for the national team. Jang Hyunsoo has already been confirmed as a wild card pick, and he has versatility to his credit – we know that in addition to playing as centreback, he can play decently as defensive midfielder and rightback. That means Hamburg’s Seo Youngjae will come along for the trip to cover for Shim Sangmin. While Jang will probably start in central defense, there are a lot of questions as to his centreback partner. I propose Choi Kyubaek. A late bloomer in the context of things, Choi got his first call-up from Shin Taeyong a couple weeks ago. The Jeonbuk Hyundai regular starter has delivered both for club and country – his main attribute being his aerial ability. If he’s too risky positionally though (he can occasionally be caught out of position, Mertesacker style), then Ulsan’s Jung Seunghyun does the trick – a centreback with a lot of potential and decent passing attributes, who also happened to be the top scorer in AFC Championship qualifying. I’ve chosen to drop Song Juhun, the captain for the last call-ups, because like Yeon Jeimin, the former captain, neither of them are very good centrebacks. Though Song remains in the conversation and I suspect Shin will drop Jung Seunghyun instead, which would be disappointing because Jung has earned it more.

Jinseok: I too would stick to the classic 2 GK – 6 DF – 8 MF – 2 FW model. Jang Hyun Soo is already in – he’s not quite my first choice, but he’s a fine player so I’ll take it. The other two CB’s, I believe HAVE TO BE Jung Seung Hyun and Choi Kyu Baek. First off, Jung is regularly playing 90 minutes for Ulsan and doing a fairly decent job. I haven’t had the chance to watch the recent Ulsan matches, but a recent article came out saying he was improving game by game, which I am inclined to believe because about a month ago I watched him and was quite impressed. Choi KB has also been starting regularly for Jeonbuk and has already left a mark on Shin Tae Yong. Song Ju Hoon, of course, would be a complete disaster. Like Tim, I am hesitant about Shim Sang Min and Lee Seul Chan as neither are really playing for their clubs, but the fact of the matter is no one has really done better. The two backup FB’s during the Asian Cup never impressed while Seo Young Jae played fairly well in the recent four nations tournament, so like Tim, I included him there. Though I am a little hesitant with SYJ for 1) his inexperience and 2) needing time with HSV, but Gu HJ and Park DJ haven’t impressed recently, so I’ll go with him for now. Clearly, the team’s greatest weakness clearly lies in the FB department. 

Jae:Like Jinseok and Tim, I went with 6 defenders and largely the same players. I too would start Choi Kyubaek and Jung Seunghyun at centerback although perhaps Jang Hyunsoo should be used in his natural position for a change with the national team. However, given the team’s overall defensive issues and lack of quality at fullback, I’ll stick Jang Hyunsoo over at rightback. Shim Sangmin and Lee Seulchan make my squad, but  their relative lack of playing time with Seoul and Jeonnam makes me worry a bit. Unlike Tim and Jinseok I wasn’t hugely impressed with Seo Youngjae at the 4-nations tourney, and have opted to let him have a normal preseason with Hamburg. With Jang Hyunsoo covering for rightback along with Lee Seulchan, that leaves the need for a backup leftback for Shim Sangmin. I can’t think of a decent one for the U23s, and as such went bias with Busan’s Gu Hyunjun who has worked his way back into Choi Youngjoon’s graces and has been decent lately.


Let’s start with the defensive midfielders. Park Yongwoo and Lee Chandong both should be included in the final squad, because if we do play 4-2-3-1 as I suspect we will against Germany, it’s absolutely vital that we keep our strong players in their best positions – and that means playing Jang Hyunsoo as a centreback. As such, Park Yongwoo and Lee Chandong need to work in tandem. Aside from the 4-2-3-1 formation, it’s unlikely to see both of these players on the pitch at the same time, but this defensive reinforcement is worth having. Kwon Changhoon is a lock, and injury concerns don’t seem to be quite so major, as he played 55 minutes midweek against Jeonbuk. He’s a big, big player for this squad. Tidy defensively, dangerous in attack with his searing vertical runs and agility. Pohang’s Moon Changjin is also certain to be selected, as he offers more of an offensive threat and is helping keep Pohang afloat with Son Junho’s injury. Lee Changmin plays a bit deeper and is more of a passing type, which brings balance to the central midfield selection. On the left wing, Ryu Seungwoo is a mainstay, and over on the right, I’d call up Kim Seungjun over Choi Kyoungrok. Kim doesn’t offer at much potential going forward as Choi, but he’s been playing regularly for Ulsan and is decent tracking back.

Jinseok: I think the trio of Lee Chan Dong + Park Yong Woo + Lee Chang Min are needed for tactical flexibility. We’re certainly not going to play all three, yet against teams like Germany and Mexico I don’t think we can afford to play only one of them. The offensive midfield choices are pretty obvious here, though I must admit I had a hard time with Ryu Seung Woo vs. Choi Kyung Rok. Ryu is clearly very talented, as is Choi, and both are very streaky. Sometimes they play very well and sometimes they’re completely invisible. For me, Ryu or Choi, whichever ends up going, is likely to end up as that “one-of-the-first options off the bench” player. Because Kwon Chang Hoon is probably going to start every game while Moon CJ will probably start a good majority as well.

Jae: Midfield present a couple tricky choices (with regards to how it shapes on the pitch). Again like Jinseok and Tim, I went with most of Shin Taeyong’s mainstays. My one BIG difference is that I plumped for U19 midfielder Han Chanhee (and hey look at that, Jinseok wrote a piece on him a few months ago). My concern is that the squad lacks that passing ability from deeper positions. Lee Chandong and Park Yongwoo are defensive midfielders that are closer to defenders than midfielders. Kwon Changhoon is better at making powerful runs from deep. Lee Changmin? A player I like, but he’s another box-to-box type and I don’t particularly rate his longer passing (plus he hasn’t featured for Jeju much). The 4-1-4-1 is the only formation that Lee Changmin seems to fit well (that STY uses regularly), and I’d prefer a passer. U23 passers? Can’t think of any really, so it was down a level and that’s largely Han Chanhee or Paik Seungho, and I opted for the former.


Tim: Son Heungmin will start in either of the midfield wide roles, just to run at opposition and replace the weaker of the wingers (probably Kim). The best case scenario is that Son gets space to play with and exercises cautious confidence – where he lets others around him get involved in the play but shows off moments of class without overarching others. The worst case scenario is that he will be double marked around the pitch and pulls players out of position. That’s why him playing on the right makes sense – Lee Seulchan would have more space to work with, because Shin Taeyong likes having his fullbacks high up the pitch. That being said, I’m more excited for Suk Hyunjun. He completely wrecked the Czech defensive line earlier this month. Against a younger age group, Suk’s physicality and powerful shot will be threats that will give centreback pairings nightmares. Imagine Suk winning header after header, flicking it on to 19 year old Hwang Heechan – the future of Korean forwards – agile, quick, skillful and energetic.

Jinseok: Son HM + Hwang HC + Suk HJ will be absolutely glorious to watch. These are the three best forwards that Korea could ask for.

Jae: Same as the others, but I think Hwang Heechan will be a spark off the bench kind of player. I don’t really see him playing as a right winger with Son on the left given neither are particularly keen on defensive work.


The Tavern starting XI’s 

Jinseok’s starting XI – a more offensive formation. I don’t believe in 1) Kwon Chang Hoon playing wide and 2) Ryu Seung Woo starting. That central midfield spot could really go to either Lee Chang Min, Park Yong Woo, or Moon Chang Jin. A lot of that would really depend on their club form going into the Olympics, but for now I chose LCM because 1) he adds more creativity than Park Yong Woo would and 2) MCJ isn’t in the best of form right now. Perhaps a more defensive option would be to go 4-2-3-1 with one of HHC or SHM as an impact sub (probably HHC) with Kim Seung Jun as the replacement.

Olympics XI]


Tim’s starting lineups:

image image image image


Jae’s Starting XI

I went with a 4-2-3-1/4-1-4-1 formation. Kim Seungjun, while not great, provides more balance on the right than Hwang Heechan, and with Son Heungmin on the left that’ll be important. Lee Chandong is shaded to the left to help cover for Son who will likely play more as a withdrawn forward. Park Yongwoo can be switched with Han Chanhee if a greater defensive presence is needed.

Olympic XI

About Jinseok 259 Articles
Diehard Korean football fan.

1 Comment

  1. I would submit an olympic roster but admittedly I’m woefully short on knowledge of many of Korea’s younger U23 players. That said, I do share some excitement of the potential of the 3 up top players in Suk Hyun-Jun, Hwang Hee-Chan and Son Heung-Min. Cross yr fingers and toes for a medal of any color and military exemption…

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