All Right This is Just Getting Ridiculous

There are players on every national team that MUST be included in friendlies as well as serious, non experimental starting XI’s.

Here are some players that MUST start every national team match once the qualifying phase ends barring injuries and losses in form, to gel as a team and further develop the chemistry they gained under Hong Myung Bo’s leadership.

Hong Jeong Ho and Kim Young Kwon:

Barring loss of form or injuries, these two MUST start every national team match once the upcoming three matches are over and we have secured qualification. Unfortunately, if CKH stays as our NT boss this is never ever going to happen. Kwak Tae Hwi and Lee Jung Soo don’t make the cut. As failed strikers they can score but they just can’t defend; they’re both slow as molasses and get burned by the likes of Shinji Kagawa. That should not be allowed on our national team. There was a time when our players said “If we lose to Japan once more we will quit playing football.” Hong Myung Bo had the right Tuhon (fighting spirit) mindset, but nobody these days do on the Senior NT squad. Hong Jeong Ho and Kim Young Kwon have great synergy, have played together very often under Hong Myung Bo’s U23 squad to great success, and defense is actually their natural position. Why are players like Jung In Whan, who has horrendous aerial ability, and Kwak Tae Hwi, who constantly messes up even in the Qatar Stars League and is slow as molasses, playing over these two? I have no clue.

Also, I don’t know where our two previous managers got the idea of  putting CB’s as fullbacks, but IT DOESN’T WORK. Just putting that out there.



Still our weakest position, and you know what I really don’t know what to say for this one. Kim Chang Soo doesn’t play full 90 every game, and is somewhat out of form; Shin Kwang Hoon is very good going forward but doesn’t offer too much in the defending side of things; Park Joo Ho is solid but also is prone to errors; Lee Ki Je and Kim Jin Su were great in the 2011 U20 WC, play full 90’s for their clubs, and get praised as very reliable defenders, but they have no senior NT or U23 experience. Japan is blessed to have not just two amazing fullbacks in Nagatomo and Uchida who offer a LOT of depth to their offense, but two more solid fullbacks in the two Sakai’s.


Ki Sung Yong, Koo Ja Cheol, and Lee Chung Yong.

In our national team, Ki’s CM position and Lee’s right wing position is locked down barring dips in form, and this is one thing CKH has gotten right. Koo Ja Cheol’s CAM position should also be locked, but I truly believe Kim Bo Kyung is just as good as KJC in that position. KBK, while he may be more of a true #10, offers a lot on the left flank as well, more so than KJC anyway. KJC as a winger doesn’t really work out on the national team, as the humiliating loss against Japan in 2011 demonstrated. Meanwhile, KBK has shined on the left (and all over the pitch for Cardiff).

I hesitate to place Kim Bo Kyung in a “must start” position. When all our players are in top condition, a KBK – KJC – LCY is undeniably our strongest attacking midfield setup.

Right now he’s our most in form midfielder and he’s really on fire at Cardiff right now (he BETTER start our upcoming three matches), but 1). Lee Keun Ho and Lee Chung Yong have put in better performances for the NT and 2). KBK can play ANYWHERE in the three attacking midfielders. It’s a matter of circumstance and our opponent really. Sometimes, SHM or LKH may be more useful than KBK. I say KBK, not KBK and LCY, because LCY has always been our top performer recently, and he’s genuinely needed in just about any situation.



The striker dilemma:

Park Chu Young, who would be our undisputed one-top, is horrendously out of form and needs to find a team where he can find plenty of playing time. Arsene Wenger, with his mysterious, completely illogical policy of not playing PCY despite a MotM performance in his FA cup debut, destroyed his form to the point where he could not perform at even Celta Vigo.

Meanwhile, let’s turn to Ji Dong Won. My verdict is that Ji Dong Won isn’t particularly good at anything aside from finishing and some aerial ability, but he’s still a solid option (far from a polished player, but solid nonetheless). He’s better off as a starter since he doesn’t quite fit the super sub role. But is he our BEST starter? Not quite.

Son Heung Min, on the other hand, fits the super sub role perfectly. Explosive and with crazy finishing, he can burn tired defenders very easily. He can burn not-tired defenders as well (we’ve all seen him do it), but he is not yet consistent enough. And he isn’t very useful against the Asian minnow teams that pack the box with like 6 defenders. Which is why LDG is probably the best option as of now in the absence of PArk Chu Young.

And herein lies the dilemma. If Park Chu Young doesn’t get back to his best in a year, what do we do? Start Son? or start Ji? Both have shortcomings and it’s hard to tell which is a better idea. This does make Jae’s proposition of a false 9 really interesting, giving SHM the space to cut in (his specialty) and giving KJC and KSY room to move forward and orchestrate a la Iniesta and Xavi. KJC and KSY, now that I think about it, are really similar to Iniesta and Xavi, respectively. And Han Kook Young is really similar to Busquets… hmm..

Remember that Asian minnows are completely different from World Cup level teams. A team’s XI should be different if the level of opponents are drastically different. Also, there are K League players who I think equal the powers of some of our NT players, and the upcoming three matches are a great way to experiment and let our K Leaguers prove themselves (one thing Cho Kwang Rae did NOT do).

I personally think the smartest lineup for the upcoming qualifiers would be:

Jung Sung Ryong; Park Joo Ho, Kim Young Kwon, Jang Hyun Soo, Kim Chang Soo; Lee Myung Joo, Kim Nam Il or Han Kook Young; Lee Keun Ho or Lee Seung Ki, Kim Bo Kyung, Lee Chung Yong; Lee Dong Gook

But with CKH I’m positive Kwak Tae Hwi will start, and most likely Jung In Hwan as well.


About Jinseok 260 Articles
Diehard Korean football fan.


  1. At least we there is no Lee Jung-Soo in these call ups. One feels that Choi Kang-Hee just doesn’t have the b*lls to really make a change in the backline. To get rid of the older, past their prime players, at really give the younger guys a chance to step in. Fortunately, I can’t possibly see him staying on any longer. He seems ready to get out of the set up.

    I worry a bit about Kim Bo-Kyung’s future. It’s difficult to see a coach really willing to risk trying the false 9, and I don’t think he’ll push out Koo JC or Ki SY. That leaves the left wing, and I think eventually the pressure to play Son HM there will force managers to make that choice.

    I don’t think Son or Ji will ever really be a true striker. Ji is solid, but I don’t think he has the raw skill set to be great. Son’s game doesn’t seem well fitted to the striker role, unless he becomes an upgraded Park Chu-Young. I think best case scenario for Son is that he becomes a Ronaldo/Gareth Bale-esque kind of player.

    • I believe Son can become a true striker, and I personally don’t want him to be a Ronaldo/Robben-esque wide forward. He’s played really well as a 1 top recently and we have plenty of talent on the left wing, whereas we have so little up top.
      I have no worries for KBK – if he performs as well as he has recently there’s no way he won’t start. KBK, KJC, and KSY make three AMAZING ball keeping midfielders

      • I think it would be better if he became a true striker, but he’s going to need to make some adjustments to his game in terms of figuring out how to move without the ball and how to deal with compact defenses where he isn’t allowed the space to run at them.

        I’m not worried about KBK’s performances, but when I look at the squad I can see him being kept out. Especially if SHM starts performing for the NT, and we have an ‘old school’ coach. I think they’ll keep a DM, KSY deeper. KJC in the AM spot, LCY right, and SHM/Lee Keun-Ho left. KBK’s performances certainly warrant a start, but we’ve seen in the past that performances don’t always equal starts.

  2. Agree that Hong Jeongho and Kim Younggwon need to start. I think during Cho Kwang-Rae’s time, Jeongho was a regular starter and after Lee Youngpyo left, Kim Young-Gwon got to start as well. I already feel like CKH is going to pick Kwak Tae Hwi over Hong Jeongho. (Boy needs more play time to get back into form, damnit.) I always thought Kim Young-Gwon was a left back tho. : Till the Olympics, that is. I’m confused. But either way, they both deserve to start and should be regular starters for the NT. I’m really looking forward to seeing them play together since they really seem to work well.

    • Kim Young Kwon was never a left back, it was CKR’s experiment to put him there in the absence of Lee Young Pyo
      Hong Jeong Ho started yesterday’s match in a 3-back defense (and will most likely start future matches), so he should be back to full strength soon

    • As Jinseok said, Kim Young-Kwon is naturally a centerback, but after Lee Young-Pyo’s retirement Cho Kwang-Rae simply used him there due to a lack of other options. That he did alright is more a testament to his natural ability. I wouldn’t say that Hong Jeong-Ho was a regular starter under Cho, but he was definitely in his plans. His versatility was a bit of a problem under Cho, as he got moved around a lot. I think he started at right back a couple times, center back a few times, and the one rather poor start as a defensive midfielder. Kind of like Phil Jones at United if you want a comparison situation.

      Hopefully the Choi Kang-Hee/Hong Jeong-Ho “will he start him” question is moot. Hong isn’t ready for the qualifiers, and then hopefully after that, a new manager will come in and start things right.

  3. Can we get Arsene Wenger finally, author?

    I think its getting borderline North Korean around these parts the way Arsenal is constantly getting blamed for Park Chu Young’s putrid performance the last 2 or 3 years. He simply isn’t up to snuff and the hype surrounding him has managed to infiltrate the stubborn depths of many Korean football fans.

    How do most of you know whats gone behind closed doors at his clubs to merit these perspectives? The bottomline is that the managers for whatever reason are not enamored by what he’s been able to show on the pitch. That isn’t conjecture, thats plain fact.

    Also plain fact is that he’s all we got sadly.

    Fire Choi Kang Hee while we are at it. Everything about the man most importantly including his decision making makes me want to vomit. He’s the worst manager the NT has had in a good long while and its shocking he’s still in place

    Rant over.

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