Belgian professional soccer KAA Gent midfielder Hong Hyun-seok, 24, is a surprise call-up to Klinsmann’s squad.
South Korea national team head coach Jürgen Klinsmann (GER) announced his 23-man roster for the June A match at the Jongno-gu Football Hall in Seoul on Friday. Klinsmann made his debut as Korea’s head coach in March’s two A matches, which featured members of the Qatar World Cup Round of 16. Afterward, Klinsmann and his coaching staff traveled around Europe to check on the players. This time, the first generation of Klinsmann has been unveiled.
Hong Hyun-seok, who had never been called up to the A team, was a surprise addition to the squad. The former U23 international joined Gent from Austria’s LASK Linz in August last year for a transfer fee of 2 billion won. He scored a sensational debut goal with a bicycle kick on his debut. In October last year, he dribbled past three opponents and scored with his left foot in a Lionel Messi-esque move. His nine goals and nine assists this season, including six goals and five assists in the league, two in the Belgian Cup, and one goal and three assists in the Europa Conference, have pushed his estimated price tag to 5.5 billion won.
Coach Andreas Harečok traveled to Belgium in April to watch Hong Hyun-seok play in the Europa League quarterfinals against West Ham. The Austrian coach had already known Hong from his days at LASK. Hong was also a resource for the Hangzhou Asian Games team, but this time he was named to the A team.
Like Hwang In-beom (Olympiakos), Hong is a box-to-box midfielder with a wide range of activities from his own penalty box to the opponent’s penalty box. He can also play as an attacking midfielder. The 1.77-meter Hong is left-footed, can cut in through passes, and runs 11 to 12 kilometers per game. His favorite player is Park Ji-sung, the “oxygen tank.
Hong Hyun-seok, who won the 2012 Cha Bum-geun Football Award, played at Hyundai High School in the K League’s Ulsan Hyundai Youth Team. However, in the summer of his senior year, he fractured his right ankle and had to take three to four months off, and he only managed to run 20 seconds in the 100-meter dash during his college entrance exam. After graduating from high school in 2018, he headed to Unterhaching in the German third division, then played for FC Juniors in Austria, LASK Linz, and finally Gent. Hong Hyun-seok saw Son Heung-min at the airport in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 2021 and didn’t speak to him, but they ended up playing together in the A team.
Jeju United flanker Ahn Hyun-beom and Ulsan Hyundai midfielder Park Yong-woo have also earned their caps. Forward Oh Hyun-kyu, who won the Domestic Treble with Celtic in Scotland, also made the list. The battle for the top three spots continues with frontline strikers Cho Kyu-sung (Jeonbuk) and Hwang Eui-jo (Seoul). Established players such as Son Heung-min (Tottenham), Lee Kang-in (Mallorca), Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton), and Lee Jae-sung (Mainz) were also selected. In addition, Na Sang-ho (Seoul), who is on fire with eight goals in the K League, was selected, while top scorer Lee In-gyu (Ulsan) was overlooked by Klinsmann, who succeeded former coach Paulo Bento. Defenders Kim Min-jae (Napoli) and Kim Young-kwon (Ulsan) were called up for basic military training and injured respectively, while Park Ji-soo (Portimonense) and Kim Joo-sung (Seoul) were selected.먹튀검증
Klinsmann also included midfielder Son Jun-ho (Shandong Taishan), who has been detained by Chinese police for three weeks and is under investigation. Chinese media have cited Son’s possible involvement in match-fixing. Klinsmann’s participation is unclear, but he was included to show his support.
Klinsmann’s team will face Peru at the Busan Asiad Stadium on June 16 and El Salvador at the Daejeon World Cup Stadium on June 20. Klinsmann will be looking for his first win after drawing 1-1 in an A match in March.