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New faces on nat'l football team eye to impress at regional tournament

By Yonhap
  • Published : Nov 28, 2017 - 17:20
  • Updated : Nov 28, 2017 - 17:20

ULSAN -- Two newly selected South Korea national football team players said Tuesday they want to deliver impressive performances at the upcoming regional tournament, hoping for a steady international call up in the future.

On South Korea's 24-man squad for the East Asian Football Federation E-1 Football Championship in Tokyo next month, Jin Seong-uk and Kim Sung-joon are two of the four members who are trying to make their international debut. South Korea, which qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, will face Japan, China and North Korea from Dec. 9 to 16.

Among them, Jin, who plays with K League Classic runners-up Jeju United, is a forward that head coach Shin Tae-yong picked for the tournament. With Europe-based forwards absent due to club duties, the 23-year-old will have to compete against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors striker Kim Shin-wook and Busan IPark target man Lee Jeong-hyeop to earn a starting spot.

South Korea national football team striker Jin Seoung-uk speaks to reporters at Ulsan Stadium in Ulsan on Nov. 28, 2017. (Yonhap)

"It feels a little awkward to be one team with the players who I faced in the league, but we all know each other, so I'm training in a good atmosphere," Jin told reporters at Ulsan Stadium. "But I still have to compete here, and want to play matches by showing my forte."

Jin, who previously played under Shin on the under-23 side, scored five goals and one assist in 29 league matches. Though his goal scoring record isn't impressive, he said his energetic efforts will help the national team at the tournament.

"My playing style with Jeju is to pressure the opponents up front," he said. "I want to help defend and play a good game by showing my abilities."

Kim Sung-joon, who spent time with Shin when he coached Seongnam FC, said he is also ready to contribute. The 29-year-old midfielder said although he lacks attacking power, he is confident in reading the game and setting the tempo.

"In modern football, we're having a quick transition game, so I will run a lot and help the team whether in offense or defense," he said. "Since I grabbed a chance which doesn't come easily, I want to play a good game and want to earn national team selection next time."

Kim, who made his pro debut in 2009, said he is now fit to play after recovering from an ankle injury. This season, he only played 19 matches with military club Sangju Sangmu before he was discharged from his national duty in September and returned to Seongnam.

"I had a long rehab after suffering an ankle injury, but I have no problem playing a game right now," he said. "I think it's an obligation for a player to show a good performance in competitions."

The men's national team will depart for Tokyo on Dec. 6 after playing two practice matches with Korea University. (Yonhap)