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S. Korea's U-23 footballers stimulated by young forward's senior int'l debut

South Korea's under-23 football players said Wednesday they are stimulated by their former teammate's impressive debut with the senior national team.


Lee Seung-woo, 20, earned his first international cap with a start in a friendly against Honduras on Monday. The Hellas Verona attacker collected an assist and showed crowd-pleasing individual skills in South Korea's 2-0 win over Honduras. With the latest performance, Lee made his case for inclusion on South Korea's final roster selection for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The U-23 players, who have been called up to prepare for the

2018 Asian Games, said Lee's performance has driven them to be better footballers.

"I think it (Lee's debut) motivates every player here," Girona FC midfielder Paik Seung-ho told reporters at the National Football Center in Paju, Gyeonggi Province. "It's really something that we need to congratulate him on."

Paik played with Lee on the FC Barcelona youth team and the

U-20 national team. The 21-year-old said he also wants to play for

the senior team if he gets the opportunity.   

"I want to play with the senior national team too, but for now, I want do well with the U-23 team."

Lee Jin-hyun, who will play for K League 1 side Pohang Steelers later this season, also welcomed Lee Seung-woo's senior debut.

"I played with him on the U-20 national team before and I knew he would do well," said the midfielder who had a loan spell with Austria Wien. "I will try to play well both with Pohang and the Asian Games team so I can earn a selection with the senior national team."

U-23 coach Kim Hak-bum said he is also happy to see Lee Seung-woo's impressive performance with the seniors.

"If he keeps showing performances like that, it helps our team, too," he said. "It's very positive and inspiring that he is getting good experiences there." (Yonhap)