South Korea recalls striker Park for friendlies
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea coach Uli Stielike recalled former Arsenal striker Park Chu-young to the national team for friendlies this month against Jordan and Iran.
Park, released by Arsenal in May and without a club until he joined Saudi Arabia’s Al Shabab in September, has not featured for his country since a disappointing 2014 World Cup when the Asian giant collected a solitary point.
South Korea is preparing for January’s Asian Cup, where it is drawn in Group A with host Australia, Kuwait and Oman.
“These are the last friendly games before the Asian Cup,” Stielike told a news conference Monday. “The biggest reason to select Park is because this is my last chance to see him for myself.”
With other strikers Kim Shin-wook and Lee Dong-gook out injured, the matches in Amman on Nov. 14 and Tehran four days later provide Park with the opportunity to show what he can do.
“The Asian Cup is an important tournament and ... these two games are really important,” Stielike said. “Iran is ranked as Asia’s number one team with Jordan in fifth. These are tough away games, but we will do our best to play our attacking football.”
Yun Suk-young has started playing regularly in the English Premier League for Queen’s Park Rangers, but the left-back is on the standby list while World Cup goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryeong is recalled for the first time since the World Cup.
German-born Stielike, appointed in September, is aiming to bring the continental trophy to South Korea for the first time since 1960. In his first two games in October, the former Real Madrid midfielder steered South Korea to a 2-0 defeat over Paraguay and then a 3-1 loss to Costa Rica.
Midfielder Ki Seung-yeung of Premier League side Swansea City is likely to captain the team, while Bayer Leverkusen’s Son Heung-min is one of five Bundesliga-based players named in the 22-man squad.