SPORTS

Veteran midfielder determined to set up strikers in World Cup qualifiers

By Yonhap
  • Published : Aug 27, 2017 - 10:06
  • Updated : Aug 27, 2017 - 10:06

PAJU -- South Korean midfielder Yeom Ki-hun said Friday he is ready to provide assists to strikers in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Yeom is one of the 26 players called up by head coach Shin Tae-yong for South Korea's last two matches in the final Asian qualifying round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. South Korea will host Iran next Thursday and take on Uzbekistan five days later in Tashkent.

"The national team training is exciting," Yeom said to reporters at the National Football Center in Paju, north of Seoul, where he has been practicing with teammates since Monday. "It's physically challenging, but the coach makes the atmosphere great."

South Korean midfielder Yeom Ki-hun speaks to reporters before training at the National Football Center in Paju, north of Seoul, on Aug. 25, 2017. (Yonhap)

Yeom is the all-time leader in assists in the top-flight K League Classic. The 34-year-old has so far amassed 97 assists in 300 matches. He topped the league in assists in the last two seasons.

The Suwon Samsung Bluewings veteran returned to the national team after a two-year absence. Yeom said he will try to prove his reputation as the top helper. The left-footed winger has four goals and nine assists in 27 matches in the K League Classic this season.

"The coach emphasizes making passes forward with confidence," he said. "Even if there's a mistake, he tells us to make aggressive passes."

Yeom, who has four goals in 51 international matches, said it's up to him to help the national team strikers score. The former Ulsan Hyundai and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors man said he will try to send strong crosses in between the opposing team's defenders and goalkeeper frequently.

"Our strikers like Lee Dong-gook and Kim Shin-wook are strong in the air, so I have to fit into their playing style," he said.

"So it's up to me to help them to score goals, so I should be really working hard." (Yonhap)