I trust Klinsmann to make the best decision based on HIS vision for our team but man some of these callups are weird:
For reference I made a prediction post last week. I thought it’d look like the following based on a mix of idealism (my personal picks) and realism (what I think Klinsmann would pick):
GK: Jo Hyun Woo, Kim Seung Gyu, Song Beom Keun
DF: Park Ji Soo, Kwon Kyung Won, Lee Han Beom, either Jeong Tae Wook or Jung Seung Hyun, Kim Jin Su, Seol Yong Woo, Kim Tae Hwan, Lee Ki Je
MF: Hwang In Beom, Jung Woo Young, Son Heung Min, Lee Jae Sung, Hwang Hee Chan, Na Sang Ho, Song Min Kyu, Jeong Woo Young, either Lee Kang In Goh Young Joon or Hong Hyun Seok, and two of the following three: Lee Jin Hyeon, Park Yong Woo, and Paik Seung Ho
FW: Oh Hyun Gyu, Joo Min Kyu, Cho Gue Sung
Clearly some were right, some were wrong. We’ll start position by position:
GK: Nothing weird here. Next
As suspected we get Kwon Kyung Won and Park Ji Soo in CB. The surprise CB pick here is Kim Ju Sung. I think this is a perfectly reasonable pick – there is debate about who is the better defender in the young FC Seoul CB pairing. I’ve found that a majority of fans and pundits pick Lee Han Beom as the favorite (including myself), yet Klinsmann seems to be on team Kim Ju Sung. I wonder why that’s the case – is it the military exemption (KJS played for Gimcheon Sangmu already)? Is it that he’s 2 years older (LHB is 20, KJS is 22)? Or is it out of laziness because KJS has been capped by Bento once before during the EAFF tournament? Hard to say. Right now it is predicted that Kim Ju Sung – Lee Han Beom will make up our starting CB line at the Hangzhou Asian Games upcoming, though Kim Ju Sung’s inclusion isn’t 100% clear because he already has exemption. Maybe that’s the reason why Kim Ju Sung makes the senior team while Lee HB will 100% make it to the Olympic team.
With the fullbacks… Kim Jin Su, Seol Young Woo, Lee Ki Je were expected. The big surprise of the DF category in my opinion is Ahn Hyun Beom. He was more of a winger than a FB back in the day, more recently playing RWB in Jeju’s 3/5 back system. I have admittedly not watched Jeju FC matches much this season, but clearly Klinsmann sees something in him. Personally I am a liiiittle bit disappointed that the pick didn’t go to Daegu’s Hwang Jae Won who’s had an excellent season last year and is continuing his form into this season. Maybe I am biased because of his age though.
Things get more interesting in midfield. To nobody’s surprise, Son Heung Min, Lee Jae Sung, and the two Hwangs are on board. Na Sang Ho is a very deserving pick too with an excellent season so far for FC Seoul. It seems that Klinsmann won the chance to call up Lee Kang In. I correctly guessed that Park Yong Woo would make it as a CM (not because I would personally have done this if I were Klinsmann but because it seemed like the most logical pick). Hong Hyun Seok’s form in Belgium likewise makes him very worthy of a callup and I want to congratulate him on finally getting that first KNT cap. Elder Jung Woo Young was not picked – which some KNT fans will be very happy about.
Son Jun Ho’s inclusion is a bit surprising given the legal quagmire he faces at the moment. But I did read that he was released from prison in China and is scheduled to come back to Korea soon with our lawyers having already made the trip to China. I guess that soon was sooner than I thought it’d be. Or perhaps this is a ploy to get him out sooner?
EDIT: when asked by a journalist why Son Jun Ho was called up, Klinsmann confirmed that the callup was to show Son Jun Ho that we support him and are 100% behind him. A nice gesture from Klinsmann I think. But confirms that there’s no guarantee that we’ll be able to get SJH out.
Now never in my wildest dreams did I expect Won Du Jae to make the cut. For a little bit of backstory on WDJ, he was hyped as the KNT’s DM savior for some time back in the day. But then he suffered a fairly long term injury. He lost form in the 2022 season for Ulsan, and didn’t see too many minutes that season. This season he was transferred to Gimcheon for military service, and even there he hasn’t been a regular starter, although he has played 90′ in their last 3 matches. I have totally not been watching Gimcheon Sangmu’s matches, so if anyone can comment if WDJ has regained his 2020-2021 form, please let me know. I do wonder though … if we were looking into K2 DMs what about Kwon Hyuk Kyu? Ah well either way let’s hope WDJ can do a good job replacing JWY Sr.
Sadly it’s the same old, even though most people would agree that Hwang Ui Jo and Cho Gue Sung have been so terribly off form that they don’t warrant a call up. Oh Hyeon Gyu should be the starting CF anyway so I guess it’s not a huge deal, but it is really shocking to see the K League top scorer (he was top scorer 2021 with 22 goals and 2nd highest scorer in 2022 with 17) left off the list every single time. Hong Myung Bo even publicly spoke out saying Joo Min Kyu deserves a call up. Makes you wonder why Bento and Klinsmann continue to snub him.
Lineup? Things get tricky now that HHC is back. OHG is the obvious starter in CF, SHM and Lee Kang In are locks, then who do you use between HHC and LJS? HHC always performs so well on the NT and LJS has been on insane club form. I’d suspect it will depend on the opposition. I can’t predict who will partner Hwang In Beom. And I really can’t predict the fullback line. So we’ll see.
If I had to venture a guess it’d be OHG – HHC SHM LKI – HIB SJH – KJS KKW PJS SYW – JHW.