Tottenham’s Son to lead South Korea’s challenge at World Cup
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Tottenham forward Son Heung-min is set to lead South Korea’s challenge at the 2018 World Cup.
Coach Shin Tae-yong announced a 28-man squad Monday that was headlined by Son and his fellow English Premier League players Ki Sung-yueng of Swansea City and Lee Chung-yung of Crystal Palace.
The 25-year-old Son, who scored 18 goals for Tottenham this season, is the Asian Football Confederation’s International Player of the Year and was a member of South Korea’s World Cup campaign in 2014.
Winger Yeom Ki-hun, a 2010 World Cup veteran, and Jeonbuk Motors defender Kim Min-jae missed out because of injuries.
“I have to change my original plan due to injuries to players, but we still have four weeks to prepare for the tournament,” Shin said. “I will try to strengthen our defense line and will build up cohesion with new players in the upcoming weeks.”
Lee Seung-woo was also included in a World Cup squad for the first time. The former Barcelona forward moved to Hellas Verona in Italy last year and has been selected a week after scoring a first goal in Serie A.
Other players included for their first World Cup squad are Jeju United defender Oh Ban-suk and Moon Seon-min, a midfielder with Incheon United.
“These three players may never have played for us, but they can also go to the World Cup if they can show impressive performances with us,” the coach said.
The South Korea squad goes into camp on May 21 to prepare for a ninth successive World Cup and Group F games against Sweden, Mexico and Germany, and has warm-up games against Honduras on May 28 and Bosnia and Herzegovina on June 1.
Shin said he expects to finalize his final 23-man roster by June 3 and the team will travel to Austria and a training camp that includes friendlies against Bolivia and Senegal.
The 2002 World Cup semifinalists are scheduled to arrive in St. Petersburg on June 12, six days before their opening game against Sweden.