So I posted earlier about how the preliminary squad was released and how there were a ton of very promising talents on that team. I was also raving about the offensive depth this team has, with more attacking talent than ever before; more so than any other youth team I’ve observed personally. I don’t know the defenders that well, but I started to get a better understanding on BSK. Well here’s a little more in depth preview than before.
To recap, here is the roster again (Kim Jin Su was cut from the final roster in the end) with squad numbers:
Pretournament, I was expecting something the standard Korean 4-2-3-1 with Hwang Hee Chan and Kim Shin, Lee Gwang Hyeok, and Seo Myung Won behind him. Then Lee Gwang Hyeok got injured.
But recent articles, interviews, and such are strongly indicating a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 of sorts with Kim Gun Hee, Hwang Hee Chan, and Kim Young Kyu (Kiu) to lead the front line. In fact, here’s the lineups from the most recent practice matches.
The left is from the Kwang-Woon University friendly (the B team) while the left is from the Goyang HiFC friendly, consisting of the full strength team (of course, don’t take this as fact since all of this could change)
From what I have gleaned so far, part of which I updated the Paik Seung Ho page with…
How to utilize the massive depth in attack:
We are expected to see a Hwang Hee Chan – Kim Gun Hee – Kim Young Kyu attacking trio, which I did not see coming at first. For those of you who are not familiar with Kim Gun Hee, he is yet another very promising center striker. He’s very tall, 18 years old, and has sound technical skills. He used to play for Maetan High School (Suwon’s youth team) but recently transferred to Korea University (this season). Now, this team’s star player, Hwang Hee Chan, is also a center forward. That’s where he’s played in all the various youth national teams and for his club team (Pohang Youth); he apparently has been getting personal interest and individual coaching from Hwang Sun Hong himself, and will join the Pohang first team next season, which will be very exciting considering Pohang are now using their usual forward, Kim Seung Dae, as a #10. And for those of you who do not know Hwang Hee Chan, this kid (though I shouldn’t say kid, I’m only 3 months older than him) has crazy potential, and is pretty much the only one in recent history with a goals/game ratio higher than 1. The Lee Seung Woo / Moon Chang Jin of the current U19 generation, you might say.
So how do you reconcile this? Have the two compete or coexist? Kim Sang Ho’s solution, as I mentioned before, is to have Kim Gun Hee, the tall/physical forward, in the center to outmuscle the small Japanese/Vietnamese defenders with Hwang and Kim Young Kyu supporting him and causing chaos in the opposing defense. I really have no idea as to whether this method will work better the traditional method of Hwang Hee Chan up top with wide forwards in Seo Myung Won and Kim Shin out wide in a 4-2-3-1. Perhaps the injury of the team’s usual #10 Lee Gwang Hyeok provoked such a change? I don’t know, but we’ll see how it works against a relatively difficult (but still easy) group consisting of Vietnam, China, and Japan. I say relatively because Vietnam has been turning up in the youth divisions particularly since the opening of their Arsenal JMG academy (look it up on Wikipedia, it’s actually very interesting). Though I guess whatever Kim Sang Ho chooses to do he’ll have a readily available probably-just-as-good-as-plan-A Plan B at his disposal. Having players of Kim Shin and Seo Myung Won’s caliber as subs would undoubtedly come in handy.
If you do not know who Kim Shin and Seo Myung Won are, Kim Shin is the Jeonbuk starlet who recently transferred to Olympique Lyon’s B team (and recently scored a hattrick against PSG), and Seo Myung Won has been a long-term 유망주 who has been playing very well with Daejon until a unfortunate injury that made him lose his form, although he’s apparently starting to find it again. To me these two players are the most talented after Hwang Hee Chan, unless Paik Seung Ho can claim that title for his own this tournament.
Paik Seung Ho:
Paik Seung Ho is a 17 year old playing with 19 year olds. And when it comes to youth, that’s actually a significant difference. Could this be a problem? According to the man himself, it’s not a problem at all! He says people have treated him kindly and feels natural training with his 형s.
From the words of the coach, everything points to Paik Seung Ho playing as a starter for this team. Kim Sang Ho has stated that Paik Seung Ho’s ability to dictate / orchestrate / control a game is exceptional. He has praised him for his vision, passing, and ability to play at a fast tempo. I am so pumped to see Paik in KNT uniform. As of right now, Hwang Hee Chan is the established ace on this team, and will likely be scoring the majority of the goals, but could Paik steal the spotlight? We’ll see.
As for the rest of the midfield, USA based midfielder Kim Seung Ju did start with the A team vs Goyang… we’ll see who Kim Sang Ho eventually sticks to. All we know is that Paik Seung Ho should be starting.
I really don’t know much about these defenders. All I know is that this team is particularly prone to conceding goals, especially during the SBS cup. Now you guys may call me the “youth expert” but the real youth expert, on BSK, at least, is Jitevra. He knows literally everything about the domestic talents, so I turned to him for advice here:
Ever since Kim Sang-ho has taken charge, I have follow pretty much all their results and I do find that they have conceded in most of the matches. He does emphasize more on passing football and because of the qualities we have upfront, the weight of expectations does favor more to the attacking abilities of this team.
Lim Seung-gyeom is the captain and has always been a starter in every youth team he has played in. Doing well in KU making himself a name (although Kim Gun-hee has been the one that took most spotlight at KU).
A typical Ulsan Hyundai DF product who has good body and passing, always have been part of KNT youth teams etc.
Hwang Ki-wook (the captain of Osan High [FC Seoul]) I am not sure what happened to him. Seems like he has changed to DM and did play as defensive midfielder in the SBS Cup. Played as a CB partner to Lim during the qualifiers and in the U-16 Championships I saw of him.
But considering the lacking numbers of midfielders in the KFA sheet and the number of defenders listed, I think he may play as a defensive midfielder.
About the Goyang HiFC lineup, he said:
Coach Kim is deciding on using a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. He used mostly 4-3-3 but because we just leave one DM (usually Hwang Ki-wook) we let in alot of goals.
What Kim Sang-ho said:
- Kim Hyeong-uk is interesting as he is 165cm tall (the smallest in our squad). Kim Sang-ho likes him because he can keep the ball and use it to forward the attack.
- Hwang Hee-chan is now 90% fit (as he has been injured and unfit most of the time).
- Lim Seung-gyeom’s sudden response is quite slow so he has been looking for a quick partner. He is eyeing towards Kim Chang-yeon. Kim Dong-su’s refusal is disappointing so he is swallowing the disappointment with Kim Chang-yeon.
- Last year, we had trouble with players leaving early for Univeristy interviews (e.g. Lee Jung-bin last year). Jin Jong-hyeok (third choice goalie) was cut out because he had one during the tournament. No players have been picked that have Uni interview’s planned during the tournament except for Hwang Ki-wook who will go to Uni. He might leave during the middle of tournament but ‘we will just go as we can’
W hich reminds me – it’s so sad Kim Dong Su had to miss out on this tournament. He was playing so well for HSV II and I’ve always wanted to see him in NT uniform… but oh well I guess we’ll have to wait for the U20 World Cup.
- Vietnam: tomorrow!
- China: 10/11
- Japan: 10/13
- QF Match: 10/17
It’s pretty stupid you only get 2 days of rest but w/e, we have such depth we can definitely afford to rotate.
Update: Vietnam Match
Kim Sang Ho chose to rest Hwang Hee Chan and Paik Seung Ho for this one, which was actually in hindsight a great idea.
* Forgot to include Goalkeeper Lee Tae Hee there of Incheon Utd.
Now we don’t even have Hwang Hee Chan or Paik on here and yet the offense was formidable. Kim provides power and finishing; Seo provides technical ability (and who honestly should be a starter for us); Kim Young Kyu provides crazy speed and Lee Jung Bin provides the creativity.
I didn’t get to watch this game live, but I did watch the highlights and a large chunk of the full replay on youtube. It seems that the first half was a little dull with Kim Young Kyu even getting injured and replaced with FC Seoul striker Shim Je Hyuk. But boy did we come to life in the 2nd half (though to be honest the Vietnamese defense was straight up atrocious and very tired). As for player thoughts, I was impressed by Seo Myung Won, who did almost everything right today, Kim Hyung Wook, who was surprisingly impressive (and really really short) in DM, Paik Seung Ho, who scored a very nice goal, Kim Gun Hee, who was very effective as the striker, and the fullbacks, who I think did a very nice job complementing the attack, especially the RB #2. Nobody played badly tbh; the defense wasn’t tested, and all the players I did not mention were solid. The real test should come against Japan and the QF opponent, whether it’ll be Iraq or North Korea (AGAIN).
Against China I expect the same defense and GK but a tweaked offensive formation. I think Kim Gun Hee will be rested as he will definitely be needed against Japan as well as the QF match that we MUST win to qualify. As for the rest, I have no clue. Fortunately, teams get FOUR days of rest for the QF match, which is just barely enough.
Against Japan we should go all out and field the same lineup in the QFs. Assuming Kim Young Kyu is actually injured (I hope it isn’t serious), I would go with KGH – HHC PSH SMW. Alternatively, if KYK is back we could go hyperoffensive with KGH – HHC SMW KYK – PSH. If KYK comes back would Seo Myung Won or Kim start? I don’t know, but it really depends on the opponent. Do we want 돌파 / speed / direct running behind the defense, or technique and finesse? We’ll see what Kim Sang Ho goes with. This generation is unique in that all these players have a distinct style/identity that lets us tailor the XI to the team’s needs.
Remember that a victory two days after the final group stage match guarantees us a place in the U20 World Cup. If the defense can improve this group can definitely surpass the quarter-final run in the 2013 U20 World Cup. A semi-final appearance this time maybe??
So to me, this tournament should largely rest on whether we can maximize our defense so we can let our attackers do their thing. If we can do this, we should win this one pretty easily, but if Kim Sang Ho starts to run into defensive issues as his teams tend to, we might be faced with an early exit, a tragedy considering how talented this team is. I am really looking forward to seeing Hwang Hee Chan and Paik Seung Ho in action again, as well as all the other highly-regarded prospects here. May we defeat Vietnam tomorrow with a Hwang Hee Chan hattrick!