Korean national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann opened training in Busan on Monday as he looks to secure his first win with the Taeguk Warriors against Peru later this week — possibly without captain Son Heung-min in the squad.
Klinsmann, who took charge of the national team in February, called up 24 players with a few changes from the squad he inherited and used for his first two games.
Son, who scored two goals in the March friendlies, is on the roster again, but may miss the friendlies against Peru and El Salvador as he underwent hernia surgery two weeks ago.
His absence will leave other forwards with more work to do, including Hwang Hee-chan of Wolverhampton Wanderers, who joined Klinsmann’s squad for the first time after missing the March friendlies due to an injury of his own.
“I want to have fun and win,” Hwang said on Monday. “I couldn’t join the very first training, but I’ve kept in touch with the new manager. He always cheers me up.
“He said a lot about forward passes and ordered direct attacks.”
Hwang is an aggressive forward whose main role at Wolves and on the national team is to break through the defense with long runs. His nickname, perhaps unsurprisingly, is “The Bull.”
Regular picks like Napoli defender Kim Min-jae and Ulsan Hyundai defender Kim Young-gwon are missing, as Kim Min-jae has to fulfill his mandatory military basic training, while Kim Young-gwon is out with a hamstring injury.
“It is a shame that the players I’ve been together with for a long time are missing, but it is important that the other players show a good performance in their place,” Hwang said.
Some new names in the squad include midfielder Hong Hyun-seok of KAA Gent, defender An Hyun-beom of Jeju United and defender Park Kyu-hyun of SG Dynamo Dresden, all of whom have been on solid form this season.
Klinsmann wants his players to show the best they have to offer, even if they are only playing friendlies.
“We want to see the players really express themselves that they show personality,” Klinsmann said.
The upcoming friendlies are not only a chance for the German manager to manage his first win with the national team, but also an opportunity to test out players that may be included in the Asian Cup squad.
Winning the AFC Asian Cup next January with the Taeguk Warriors is Klinsmann’s first big objective, as he said in March.
He also said in his first press conference as national team manager that he looks to play aggressive football and win a game 4-3 rather than 1-0.
The three strikers he picked for the upcoming friendlies — Oh Hyeon-gyu of Celtic, Cho Gue-sung of Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, and Hwang Ui-jo of FC Seoul — are exactly the same as before and are in good form to score their first goal under Klinsmann.
Oh has been in the best form among the three, picking up seven goals across all competitions with Celtic in the second half of the 2022-23 season, including two goals in the club’s last league game against Aberdeen on May 27.
He nearly scored his first goal under Klinsmann in a friendly with Uruguay on March 28, but his goal was ruled offside.
Both Cho and Hwang joined the training after displaying solid performance with their respective teams, with Cho managing a brace against Gangwon FC on Sunday and Hwang scoring a goal against the Pohang Steelers on the same day.먹튀검증
The friendly with Peru — a side that Korea has never beaten before with one draw and one loss — will kick off at Busan Asiad Main Stadium in Busan at 8 p.m. on Friday.
Another friendly with El Salvador will take place at Daejeon World Cup Stadium in Daejeon Tuesday next week.