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European football clubs eye young S. Korean players

Posted June. 15, 2019 07:35,   

Updated June. 15, 2019 07:35


European football clubs are turning their eyes on South Korea’s young footballers, who have reached the final at the FIFA U-20 World Cup. FIFA said that 155 scouts from European countries including Germany, England, and Italy are in Poland to find football stars of the future. Ibrahim Ba from AC Milan said, “There are some Asian players out there who would be worth seeing in Europe.”

An agent for South Korean players said Friday that scouts used to only eye Lee Kang-in (Valencia CF), but they started to show great interest in South Korean players when the young Taeguk Warriors beat Senegal in the quarterfinal.

Experts say that players including Oh Se-hun (Asan Mugunghwa), Eom Won-sang (Gwangju FC), and Choi Jun (Yonsei University) may have drawn attention from foreign scouts.

Oh Se-hun, a forward with a tall stature, is good at using both his head and feet. He inherited a good physique from his father, who is 192 centimeters tall, and an athletic ability from his mother who was a handball player. Having scored two goals at the World Cup, Oh is considered to have proficient skills in ball possession and making a pass play.

Meanwhile, Eom Won-sang may be appealing to clubs looking for a speedy striker. He is known for his speed, which allows him to run the distance of 100 meters in about 11 seconds. During the World Cup, South Korea has successfully relied on a strategy, which is to focus on defense in the first half and to put Eom in the second half to enhance striking power. Kim Dae-gil, a commentator at KBSN, praised Eom’s speed and excellent ball control and dribbling skills, saying, “Eom may be wanted by clubs that seek a speedy transition between offense and defense during games.”

Choi Jun, who has boasted stable presence in the left side, is also garnering attention. He even showed his scoring ability, by netting a winning goal in the semifinal match against Ecuador. Park Chan-ha, a commentator, said that Choi’s strength is his ability to play defense from both the left and right sides. “He plays also as a midfielder in his team,” Park said. “Being able to take more than one positions would give him a high score.”

Yun-Cheol Jeong trigger@donga.com