SPORTS

Midfielder ready to show hot club form in int'l football friendlies

By Yonhap
  • Published : Nov 7, 2017 - 16:36
  • Updated : Nov 7, 2017 - 16:36

SUWON -- South Korean midfielder Lee Jae-sung said Tuesday he is to ready to show his hot club form in international friendly matches later this month.

Lee, who plays for Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in the K League Classic, is one of the 23 players selected by men's national football team head coach Shin Tae-yong for the friendly football matches against Colombia and Serbia. South Korea will host Colombia in Suwon, south of Seoul, on Friday and will take on Serbia four days later in Ulsan.

Lee was pivotal in Jeonbuk's capturing of a fifth league title last month. He has eight goals and 10 assists in 27 matches and is one of the three MVP candidates for the 2017 season. 

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors midfielder Lee Jae-sung (2nd from L) dribbles against Suwon Samsung Bluewings players in their K League Classic match at Jeonju World Cup Stadium in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province, on Sept. 18, 2016. (Yonhap)

"I put in a good performance with Jeonbuk and that's why I'm confident," Lee said before the national team's training session in Suwon. "I want to keep that momentum ongoing."

Lee, who has four goals in 22 matches for South Korea, said the players acknowledge that they need to rebound from a deep slump. The Taeguk Warriors are winless in their last six matches, and have won only once this year.

"We need to change the atmosphere," he said. "Since our opponents are strong teams, we will play the friendlies as actual matches in a tournament."

The 25-year-old said the addition of two Spanish coaches -- Toni Grande and Javier Minano -- is a big help to the national team. Grande and Minano were part of the Spain national team that won the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the 2012 UEFA European Championship.

"Before today's training, Grande showed us a video of Colombia matches, and we really expect lots of things from his experience," he said. "The players try to get close with Spanish coaches, and they give us lots of details."

Lee agreed with Grande's opinion that South Korea need to play "rough."

"We know Colombia are a good team both technically and physically," he said. "I will try to show strength of South Korean football."

Lee said he knows competition is inevitable when it comes to winning a starting spot. He is expected to compete with another left-footed midfielder, Kwon Chang-hoon.

"Kwon and I have different styles, but whoever plays, we'll do our best to help the team," he said. "I'm in good form, but I have to be physically ready and have a strong mindset." (Yonhap)