As a fan I tend to say things like “Oh the starting CB’s should be Choi Kyu Baek and Jang Hyun Soo” and “Shin Tae Yong please don’t make Song Ju Hoon our starting CB,” but it still makes me feel really bad when I hear that a player gets injured ahead, especially ahead of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity such as the Olympics. A World Cup comes around 3-4 times during a player’s career, but the Olympics, technically only once.
However, it was subsequently announced that Song Ju Hoon’s replacement would be… Kim Min Tae. The 22 year old signed for Vegalta Sendai straight out of university in 2015. That season he played less than half the games. This season, we’re already four months in and due to injury, he has only made 2 appearances. And I really hate to say this but… every single friendly he’s started he’s been more or less a disaster.
STY’s four alternates were Lee Chang Keun (GK), Hwang Eui Jo (wild card), Lee Gwang Hyeok (AM), or Kim Min Tae (DF). Of these four it clearly made logical sense to pick Kim Min Tae, and I guess his inclusion makes it nearly certain CKB / JSH / JHS will start. Still, I feel like the alternate list really should have included Hwang In Beom or Kim Seung Jun. Especially the latter, given that he’s played with MCJ and co. since 2012 and is putting in some incredibly good displays for Ulsan right now. He’s certainly in better form than pretty much every single midfielder on the 18 man squad except for maybe Kwon Chang Hoon who was scoring well but recently got injured.
The fact that a DM/CB player was chosen to replace SJH over an attacking player like Lee Gwang Hyeok either means that STY was obligated to choose a like for like replacement, or, STY is actually dead set on having four CB’s in the team. Might this hint at a three-back formation potentially being used at the tournament? Who knows? Either way, we wish Song Ju Hoon a healthy and speedy recovery!