With the Russia and Switzerland friendlies done with, it seems like it’s time to take another look at any possible changes to Hong’s possible 23 man squad for next summer.
In: Jung Sung-Ryong, Kim Seung-Kyu
Likely: Lee Bum-Young
On The Fringes: Kim Young-Kwang
Kim Seung-Kyu edges ahead in the starter category, but Jung Sung-Ryong’s experience will keep him firmly in the squad. Three keepers need to be taken, and Lee Bum-Young still seems the most likely to fill out the roster. Probably worth keeping an eye on this one, as the K League (which all three play in) is about to go into it’s offseason. It’ll restart next spring, and how the players come out of that break and start next season will be important.
In: Lee Yong
Likely: Kim Chang-Soo, Shin Kwang-Hoon
On the Fringes: none
I suspect two will go. Despite a poor showing against Switzerland, Lee Yong is still the best choice. Kim Chang-Soo will likely go if he recovers well from his injury. If not Shin Kwang-Hoon seems the only other option.
In: Kim Jin-Su
Likely: Yoon Suk-Young
On the Fringes: Park Joo-Ho
Two left backs will also likely go. Kim Jin-Su is the standout right now. If Yoon Suk-Young recovers from his injury well and secures more playing time (like he was getting at Doncaster), he’ll likely make the trip as well. Park Joo-Ho may be the odd man out, and his lackluster showing against Russia didn’t help his cause, also his shift in position back to left midfield with Mainz may go against him.
In: Hong Jeong-Ho, Kim Young-Gwon
Likely: Hwang Seok-Ho, Kwak Tae-Hwi
On the Fringes: Jang Hyun-Soo
Perhaps the only section that looks fairly set. Hong Jeong-Ho and Kim Young-Gwon are definites barring injury. Hwang Seok-Ho and Kwak Tae-Hwi seem to be in line for back up roles. Jang Hyun-Soo is a distant shout, but he doesn’t seem to be in Hong’s mind for CB.
In: Ki Sung-Yueng
Likely: Han Kook-Young, Park Jong-Woo
On the Fringes: Ha Dae-Sung, Ko Myeong-Jin, Lee Myeong-Joo, Jang Hyun-Soo
Other than Ki Sung-Yueng, central midfield suddenly seems a bit of a battle. Han Kook-Young should go pending his recovery. Park Jong-Woo’s potential versatility should earn him a spot, plus he seems to be one of Hong’s boys. The fourth spot would seem to go to Ha Dae-Sung (based on past performances), but he hasn’t featured for Hong lately. Ko Myeong-Jin didn’t show much against Russia. Lee Myeong-Joo has gone AWOL since Hong took over. Jang Hyun-Soo could be a surprise inclusion since he can also play in defense.
In: Lee Chung-Yong, Koo Ja-Cheol, Kim Bo-Kyung, Son Heung-Min
Likely: Go Yo-Han, Yoon Il-Rok
On the Fringes: Nam Tae-Hee
Fairly set, with Lee Chung-Yong, Koo Ja-Cheol, Son Heung-Min, and Kim Bo-Kyung firmly set to make the trip to Brazil. I feel that Hong will bring at least one more, and I’m not entirely positive who. Yoon Il-Rok seems ever-present in Hong’s call ups, but he hasn’t actually played much. Go Yo-Han also has been called plenty, but hasn’t played. Nam Tae-Hee was a surprise inclusion this past round of matches, but didn’t show that he’s someone who can make a big impact yet.
Likely: Lee Keun-Ho, Ji Dong-Won, Kim Shin-Wook
On the Fringes: Park Chu-Young
I don’t know if anyone has really stamped their passport for Brazil yet in the forward line. Lee Keun-Ho and Kim Shin-Wook are almost there. Ji Dong-Won’s versatility could get him there as well. The wild card here is Park Chu-Young. If he gets any semblance of playing time, he’ll jump the list.
So, as of now, I view Hong’s 23 man squad as this:
Goalkeepers (3) – Jung Sung-Ryong, Kim Seung-Gyu, Lee Bum-Young
Defenders (8) – Lee Yong, Kim Chang-Soo, Kim Jin-Su, Yoon Suk-Young, Hong Jeong-Ho, Kim Young-Gwon, Hwang Seok-Ho, Kwak Tae-Hwi
Midfielders (9) – Ki Sung-Yueng, Park Jong-Woo, Han Kook-Young, Ha Dae-Sung, Lee Chung-Yong, Son Heung-Min, Kim Bo-Kyung, Koo Ja-Cheol, Yoon Il-Rok
Forwards (3) – Lee Keun-Ho, Kim Shin-Wook, Ji Dong-Won
Best XI (my opinion of course)
I think it’s fairly set, in my mind, with the exception of forward and number 10. I feel that the Kim’s would be better against stronger teams, while Lee/Koo are better against weaker/teams on our level. Kim Shin-Wook and Kim Bo-Kyung are both quite strong and potentially physical players, who I think are probably a bit more useful in transitions and counters. Lee Keun-Ho and Koo Ja-Cheol are probably better when the team can control possession and make attacking runs to help break down defense teams. If I had to guess who Hong would pick, it’d probably be Kim Shin-Wook and Koo Ja-Cheol.