Contrary to his teammates’ expectations that he would do everything for them, Lee Kang-in said that it had been too long since they had played together and they needed to work on their sum.
The Asian Games team, led by coach Hwang Sun-hong, held a recovery training session at an auxiliary stadium near the Jinhua Sports Center in Jinhua, China, on Feb. 22. This was the first training session after the team became complete with the addition of Lee Kang-in. In separate training groups, Lee went through simple drills with Song Min-gyu, Min Sung-joon, Kim Jung-hoon, Lee Han-beom, Park Kyu-hyun, and Choi Jun.
Before heading into training, Lee made his first appearance in front of the media. “I tried to come as soon as I could (but couldn’t), and I feel very sorry for my teammates and coaching staff,” Lee said, “but I’m excited to be here. We’ll talk a lot and try to coordinate well so that we can have a good result,” he said of joining Hwang Sun-hong after a long absence.
“It’s been a while since I’ve played with my teammates, so I’ll have to make the best of it,” he said, adding that it will take some time to integrate into the team.
Lee’s call-up to the Hwangs came just over a year and three months after the U-23 Asian Cup in Uzbekistan last June. He had a few opportunities before that, but conflicts with his club’s schedule or being called up to the A team kept him away from Hwang.
Hwang Sun-hong called up Lee Kang-in for the Asian Games after a long absence. It was partly due to his military exemption, but mainly because he was a better resource than anyone else in the U23 team.
The current national team is filled with overseas players like Jung Woo-young (Stuttgart) and Hong Hyun-seok (KAA Hent), as well as K League players like Uhm Won-sang (Ulsan Hyundai), Song Min-gyu (Jeonbuk Hyundai), and Ko Young-joon (Pohang Steelers). However, Lee has been competing on a bigger stage for a longer period of time than these players and has developed a world-class technique. On the Asian Games stage, he is unrivaled. His presence will be a huge boost for the Korean team as they attempt to win their first three consecutive titles.
However, his late arrival was a setback. His club, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), finally gave him the green light, but it was a little late. They made it a condition that he join them on the 21st, the day of the second leg, instead of the 19th, when the first leg was scheduled.
Hwang played the first and second rounds of the group stage without Lee, and fortunately, the absence of Lee was not felt. However, each of the players hoped that Lee would be able to join the team as soon as possible and that he would be a positive addition to the team after being away for so long.
바카라사이트“Even if we don’t talk to him, he sees where we play,” said Choi Jun, who played alongside Lee at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup and scored the winning goal against Ecuador in the quarterfinals with Lee’s help. “If we move well, the ball will come by itself. He’s a good player, so we have to move well. He can adjust to everything,” he said, adding that he doesn’t think Lee’s late arrival will be a problem.
Lee Jae-ik, who also played with Lee Kang-in at the tournament, said, “I know how big he is. We’ll definitely be stronger with him. I watched his team play, and his ball touch and body movement looked good. I’ll listen to whatever he says,” he said, adding that he will rely on Lee Kang-in.
Hong Hyun-seok, who played in the center with Lee at the U-23 Asian Cup last year and knows him well, joked, “If you give him the ball, he’ll take care of himself.” “I don’t know if I’ll play with him in the third game or not, but if I do, I’ll try to work well together,” he said, adding that Lee is not a player who needs to adapt, so he expected him to lead the team easily.
However, contrary to his teammates’ expectations, Lee said that it was too long ago and he would need time. “It’s not so much about my physical condition as it is about getting along with my teammates as quickly as possible,” he said, “It’s been a while since I joined the team. It’s been a long time since I’ve played with my teammates. I think we need to communicate with each other as much as possible and get in sync while training,” he said, adding that he will continue to do so as he prepares for the match.
Hwang Sun-hong will face Bahrain in the third match of the group stage at 8:30 p.m. on April 24 at Jinhwa Sports Center. The team has already qualified for the round of 16 by topping the group, so it’s practically a practice match with no win or loss meaning. Coach Hwang Sun-hong said that he will prepare for the third match to maintain the team’s performance in preparation for the tournament, and it will be interesting to see if the newcomer Lee Kang-in will make a brief appearance.