Klinsmann has been unveiled ahead of the June A-match against Peru and El Salvador. K League 1 scoring leader Lee Min-kyu (Ulsan Hyundai) was once again denied a spot in the squad, while Son Jun-ho (Shandong Taishan), who is detained in China, was named.
South Korea’s head coach Jürgen Klinsmann announced the 23-man squad for the two matches on Friday at the Seoul Football Hall. Europeans such as Son Heung-min (Tottenham), Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton), and Lee Kang-in (Mallorca) have been added to the squad, while Hwang Eui-jo (FC Seoul), Cho Kyu-sung (Jeonbuk Hyundai), and Oh Hyun-gyu (Celtic) have been named up front.
However, there was no mention of the K League 1’s leading scorer (eight goals), In-Joo In-gyu, who was the league’s top scorer in 2021 (22 goals) and second in goals last year (17), but was not called up by Klinsmann, who succeeded Paulo Bento as head coach. He has never been capped by South Korea, including at the age-group level. 메이저놀이터
Klinsmann indirectly addressed the reasoning behind the decision to leave him off the roster. He said, “There are strikers in the K League who score more goals. But we have our own idea of what a striker should look like,” he said. In the end, it seems that In-jong-kyu didn’t fit the picture Klinsmann envisioned and wasn’t called up.
On the other hand, Son Jun-ho, who has been detained by Chinese police for three weeks on charges of “bribery of a non-state actor,” was included. Son Jun-ho is a veteran player who was a member of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and was named to the first roster of Klinsmann in March. However, it was widely believed that he would not be able to make the roster for the two A matches.
According to Klinsmann and the Korean Football Association, Son’s selection was not related to his possible release from prison. Nonetheless, Klinsmann’s decision to include Son on the roster is believed to have been made to alert the international community to his detention and hopefully save his life.
Kim Joo-sung (Seoul), Ahn Hyun-beom (Jeju United), and Park Ji-soo (Portimonense) were named to the squad in place of Kim Min-jae (Napoli) and Kim Young-kwon (Ulsan), who were ruled out of the two games due to training camp and injury, respectively. Midfielder Hong Hyun-seok (Ghent), who plays in the Belgian league, also received his first call-up.
The squad will convene at the National Training Center (NFC) in Paju on the 12th to begin training. The team will then play two friendlies against Peru on June 16 at 8 p.m. at Busan Asiad Stadium and El Salvador on June 20 at 8 p.m. at Daejeon World Cup Stadium.
Here is the Korean National Team’s June A match call-up list
Goalkeepers: Kim Seung-kyu (Al-Shabab), Cho Hyun-woo (Ulsan), Song Bum-geun (Shonan Belmare)
Defenders: Park Ji-soo (Portimonense), Kim Ju-sung (Seoul), Kwon Kyung-won (Gamba Osaka), Ahn Hyun-beom (Jeju), Kim Jin-soo (Jeonbuk), Lee Ki-je (Suwon), Seol Young-woo (Ulsan)
Midfielders: Son Jun-ho (Shandong), Hong Hyun-seok (Ghent), Won Doo-jae (Gimcheon), Hwang In-beom (Olympiacos), Lee Jae-sung (Mainz), Park Yong-woo (Ulsan), Lee Kang-in (Mallorca), Son Heung-min (Tottenham), Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton), Na Sang-ho (Seoul)