Jae’s Analysis post inspired me to write this real quick. This is largely a response to the latter section of his posts where he goes over each of the positions (Goalkeeper, Defense, Defensive Midfield, Ki, Attacking Midfield, etc.)
I also have some crazy ideas regarding Lee Gwang Jong at the end of this post. Please notify me if I’m going mad from the U19 debacle (post to be posted tomorrow evening) or if I actually make sense.
In addition to Jae’s thoughts, which I largely agree with, I also think Kim Seung Kyu simply had a much harder opponent, and to be fair he couldn’t have done anything on the 1st and 2nd CR goals – the space conceded by the defense (and the resulting accuracy of the shot) was too much. Kim Jin Hyeon had a couple long shots to deal with to make “super saves,” which he did well in, but I don’t recall KSG being called to save those kinda shots. But overall, though, it is definitely clear they have a unique skillset that does all come down to the coach’s decision.
Ahh the defense. The defense has obviously been a question that’s troubled us for a long time. I once championed HJH + KYK but something about that dynamic doesn’t really work against higher level opposition. I’ve thought over this for a long time, and came to the conclusion that for the time being we should consider pairing Jang Hyun Soo and Kim Ju Young. Both are relatively calm under pressure and don’t make “big errors” that HJH and KYK especially are prone to. Kim Ju Young seems to be the most convincing defender for the time being, unless HJH can convince me otherwise when he finally gets not-injured, and although JHS shined at a very low level, he has always been consistently good in the back and IT’S ABOUT TIME TO SEE IF HE CAN DO GOOD AS A CB … WHY DOES NOBODY TRY HIM OUT THERE??? For the immediate future we don’t need “world class defenders who can do well against Messi/Neymar/whatever.” We need defenders that can solidly deal with Japan and Iran. By the time the AC is over I am hoping Yeon Je Min / Woo Ju Sung can become that “world class defender” (for Korean standards at least)… which I’ll get into later.
Now, there’s the question of “who’s gonna play the ball forward / provide the distribution HJH/KYK could?” if we went with Jang and Kim Ju Young. Could a HJH + JHS or HJH + KJY work? I personally think HJH is a little less error-prone and a little more balanced than KYK is. Also, we should seriously consider HJH or KYK in DM, especially considering their “ball playing defender” reputation and their workrate – HJH as DM worked surprisingly well against Japan in the 2011 AC…
The best option, I think, is to hope for Yeon Je Min to really step up sometime. Out of all the youth teams I’ve followed I think Yeon Je Min might be the most consistent/stable/best defender I’ve seen in the youth NTs. He’s also getting consistent playing time on loan with Busan, a masterstroke in my opinion, and according to Jae, playing “decent but not World-stage ready” or something like that. His CB partners Woo Ju Sung and Song Ju Hoon were also amazing in their U20/U19 tournaments, but WJS is injured and SJH doesn’t play (that’s why you don’t go to the J League as a teenager dammit… I’m talking to you too JHS).
I also had a crazy idea the other day… considering the wealth of talent in the offensive midfield department… could Lee Gwang Jong do good coaching the KNT? If he plays ultra-defensively but at the same time plays a mean counterattack with SHM at the center of it… this is the kind of football I’ve wanted to see the KNT play for some time now, considering our bad defensive options and the presence of counterattacking machine SHM, just like the Netherlands did earlier this year (I think I’ve said this before). In the future, Lee Seung Woo, Paik Seung Ho, and co. can’t win trophies unless that defense is solid! Which makes me think once again…. If Lee Gwang Jong coached a team with Lee Seung Woo in it… could that end really well? If the mentality on offense is “give it to Lee Seung Woo, open up space for him, and let him do his thing…” could an ultra-conservative manager succeed? A lot of the time Lee Gwang Jong has never really had really talented forwards… Lee Yong Jae and Jung Seung Yong in the 2011 U20, Kim Hyun who was passable but not spectacular in the next U20, and in the past U19 cycle the attack was hard carried by Moon Chang Jin, a CAM at that. Give him a star studded attacking quartet and could he succeed / look more convincing than he did in the Asian Games? Maybe it’s a good thing Lee Gwang Jong is likely to lead the Rio 2016 generation! Or maybe I am grossly oversimplifying. Idk.
Expect me to continue talking about Lee Gwang Jong in the U19 post.
The Attacking Midfield:
I came out of this friendly with positive impressions on Nam Tae Hee and Kim Min Woo (never thought I’d say that in my life) and Lee Chung Yong, and a not-so-good impression of SHM. You would think Stielike would know how to use SHM properly, but every time he steps onto the KNT he never looks very dangerous. Is it a 선배-후배 thing? Idk but I hope it gets addressed asap. Also, with Kim Min Woo on such form, what do we do with SHM? Jae pointed this out earlier but based on recent friendlies alone, the real starting lineup deserves to be Kim Min Woo – Nam Tae Hee – Lee Chung Yong.
My take on this is 1) experiment with making SHM the center of our attack 2) consider SHM as a super sub which I think he’d really excel at, but we do desperately need someone of his caliber in there somewhere… and if all else fails 3) try SHM as the one-top. Remember SHM’s goal in his first season where he ran like half the pitch after a lofted through ball? Or his two goals vs. Mainz in his last HSV season? Or his goals against HSV last season? SHM is damn good at chasing and scoring off of through balls. And with the players we have… I NEVER see through balls into open space. Its so weird… it can’t be a KNT taboo or something can it? For some reason we seem to be obsessed with flank advances + crosses and/or long build up plays when we have SON HEUNG MIN on us… this lack of attacking variety is something Stielike BETTER address quickly before the AC dawns upon us.