Jürgen Klinsmann (59-Germany), the head coach of the South Korean national soccer team, had some harsh words for the K League. It was during a media conference on March 13. He was asked about the left and right fullback and defensive midfield positions, which are considered weaknesses in the national team. They wanted to know how Klinsmann, who has fielded a similar roster every time since the team’s inauguration, would operate in the future. For Klinsmann, who said he’s been “watching a lot of the K League,” it didn’t seem like a difficult question.
In fact, Klinsmann responded, “That’s a good point,” but avoided giving a specific answer, saying that he was “discussing it.” It was his next statement that caught my attention. “The question is, where do the players who made it to the quarterfinals of the FIFA U-20 World Cup, which ended in June, play? It seems difficult for young players to get opportunities in Korea,” he said, adding, “Would 18-year-old Lee Kang-in have been able to play in the K League?” He pointed out that young players are being neglected in the K League.
Klinsmann, who always emphasizes the “growth” of his players, seems to think that the number of appearances for young players in Korea is low. In particular, he praised Lee’s growth, saying, “The Lee Kang-in of six months ago and the Lee Kang-in of today are different.” Lee claimed that he was given the opportunity because he played in Spain.
However, six months ago, Klinsmann was already finishing his second season in Mallorca (Spain), and he needed a lot of time to settle into the first team. What’s more, Klinsmann didn’t see the 18-year-old as getting much playing time at Valencia. Instead, his presence at the FIFA U-20 World Cup was more notable.
Klinsmann insists that international tournaments (World Cup, Asian Cup) are the time for generational change. He says he enjoys the process of finding players to work with the coaching staff. But it was Kim Ji-Soo and Kim Joon-Hong who made the jump from the U-20 and U-23 national teams to the A team that he claims to have watched. They’re both wearing the Korean flag, but have played zero minutes. They naturally disappeared from subsequent call-up lists.
Since its launch in March, Cleansman has played eight trials. This coincided with the peak of the K League schedule. There was plenty of opportunity to try out players. However, there were no so-called “surprise” selections, except for Lee Soon-min (Gwangju FC), and even then, his total playing time was less than 60 minutes. There are only 57 days left until the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup in Qatar, which is currently the team’s top priority. Barring injury, there’s a good chance this roster will last until January.
With his emphasis on “growth,” it’s hard to think of any new faces he’s unearthed. He cites his first outing, a 2-2 draw against Colombia, as the best game of his tenure. This game, more than any other, showed the colors of former coach Paulo Bento (Portugal).
When Klinsmann questioned Korean football. 무지개토토