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Nat`l Soccer Team Needs More Strikers to Help Park CY

Posted September. 01, 2010 11:46,   


National soccer coach Cho Kwang-rae says, “We lack strikers other than Park Chu-young. We need to foster young strikers.”

He said this Monday after naming his squad for the upcoming exhibition game against Iran next week at Seoul World Cup Stadium.

Cho has called up promising forward Ji Dong-won, who played in the 2-1 exhibition win over Nigeria in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, Aug. 11, and Suk Hyun-jun, who plays for Dutch powerhouse Ajax. Cho will see if the 19-year-old Suk can ease the scoring burden for Park.

Park will no doubt be Korea’s best striker at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. To be turn 29 in four years, he is expected to have no equal on the team in experience, talent and skill.

Relying only on Park is a huge risk, however. If he gets injured or falls into a slump, the absence of another go-to striker will deal a fatal blow to the national team.

Korea received a huge shock in the summer after Park hurt his elbow in the South Africa World Cup. Though his injury was not severe enough to prevent him from playing, this showed the team that finding another attacking option is an obligation, not a choice.

Cho said, “We have to find a striker without delay to make customized tactics against other teams.”

So who can replace Park? The Dong-A Ilbo polled 15 soccer experts comprising six coaches of K-League teams, six scouts and three commentators on their opinions of Korean players in the domestic league. Each picked two players and awarded two points to the first pick and one to the second.

The highest rated player was Ji with 17 points. Jeju United coach Park Kyung-hoon praised the young striker, saying “He is excellent in positioning and remains calm near the goal.”

Gangwon FC coach Choi Soon-ho said, “(Ji) is very flexible despite his height of 187 centimeters (6-feet-2). He is also very sincere in everything.”

Lee Pyeong-jae, a scout for the Gwangyang Chunnam Dragons, said Ji’s strengths are smooth kicks and rapid shooting but that his movement behind the defender and defending need improvement.

Tied for a distant second in the rankings were Lee Seung-yeoul of FC Seoul and Shin Young-rok of the Suwon Samsung Bluewings with nine points each.

Lee’s speed was cited as his strongest trait. Ulsan Hyundai coach Kim Ho-gon said “Lee’s split-second speed surpasses Park’s. He has outstanding individual skills and has recently raised his confidence.”

Shin was praised for his power. Pohang Steelers coach Park Chang-hyun said “His body checking and activity levels are world class. He is a gifted player who’s really gotten into soccer.”

Yoo Byung-soo of Incheon United received six points to rank fourth. Suwon scout Hwang Deuk-ha said, “(Yoo) disturbs opposing defenders with an aggressive dribble and bold play throughout the whole 90 minutes. He is also very good in the timing of his shots.”

Kim Dong-chan of Gyeongnam FC received three points for his powerful shooting and Kim Young-hoo of Gangwon FC got one point for his flair for scoring.