The topic of the Asian Games U-24 (under 24) soccer team led by coach Hwang Seon-hong is how to use Lee Kang-in (22, Mallorca). This is because the team composition and even the entry can change depending on Lee Kang-in’s position and role.
Lee Kang-in,메이저놀이터 who is very active in the Spanish Primera Liga, began to establish himself in the adult national team starting with the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. As the Hangzhou Asian Games, which will be held in September, are age-restricted competitions, it is highly likely that Lee Kang-in will spearhead Hwang Seon-hong’s attack.
Director Hwang Seon-hong seems to have already thought of how to use Lee Kang-in. On the 15th, coach Hwang, who faced reporters at the NFC (National Soccer Team Training Center) in Paju, said, “It is difficult to tell (how to use Lee Kang-in) as a whole. He’s figuring out how to write it. I am active on the side of (my team), and it is getting better compared to before. However, the key is how competitive he will be in other positions. He said, “I will sympathize with him at the call-up in September and make him play well and play in his favorite position.”
Coach Hwang Seon-hong, who is preparing for the Asian Games and Olympic regional qualifiers held in September, is eagerly waiting for Lee Kang-in to join. (Photo = Yonhap News)
Coach Hwang Seon-hong used Lee Kang-in as a central midfielder during the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Asian Cup last year. Kwon Hyeok-kyu (Busan IPark) was appointed as a defensive midfielder, and Lee Kang-in and Hong Hyun-seok (KAA Gent) were placed on top of him. At this time, Lee Kang-in showed a compliant performance. In the match between Korea and Japan (0-3 loss) in this tournament, Lee Kang-in was placed in the third line. Lee Kang-in showed his skills in a somewhat unfamiliar position, but as a result, it was a failure. Many pointed out that it was not a choice that maximized his offensive instinct.
Coach Hwang Seon-hong gave off a nuance that he would build a team centered on Lee Kang-in. In last year’s U-23 Asian Cup, Lee Kang-in was used as a central midfielder. (Photo = KFA)
However, Lee Kang-in now is completely different from before. There was a prejudice that he was a ‘tricky player to write’, but he showed off his skills no matter where he was placed, while supplementing the areas that were pointed out as weaknesses such as defense. In his team Mallorca, he played as a second striker as well as on the side and center. He played flawlessly in any position. This is the background that Director Hwang said he would put Lee Kang-in in his ‘favorite position’.
Of course, his uniquely outstanding position is certain. So far, the place where Lee Kang-in has shown the best performance is by far the second striker. At the time of the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup, head coach Jung Jeong-yong put forward tall striker Oh Se-hoon (Shimizu S-Pulse) and Lee Kang-in as two tops. Lee Kang-in, who has a sharp left-footed kick, showed his strengths, such as creative play-making, in a position far behind Oh Se-hoon. Lee Kang-in, who scored 2 goals and 4 assists in 7 games, won the Golden Ball (MVP) at the same time leading Korea to runner-up. Although it was four years ago, the dominant evaluation was that it was the best way to use Lee Kang-in so far.
Lee Kang-in’s position is also an important factor, but whether he is a ‘free roll’ is also a key factor. In the meantime, Lee Kang-in showed his creativity when he relieved his defensive burden and ran freely in the attacking area. Coach Seon-Hong Hwang emphasizes the ‘one team’, but if you build a team centered around Kang-in Lee, it is worth considering granting a free role.
If Lee Kang-in’s role is clearly decided, it is highly likely that the composition of players will be tailored accordingly. If Lee Kang-in is given a free roll to focus on offense, he may also consider placing a player who stands out defensively around him.