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Klinsmann picks 3 intl. rookies for June friendlies

By Yonhap

Published : June 5, 2023 - 10:11

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Park Yong-woo of Ulsan Hyundai FC (center) heads the ball during a K League 1 match against Daejeon Hana Citizen FC at Munsu Football Stadium in Ulsan, some 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, in this file photo taken May 28. (Yonhap) Park Yong-woo of Ulsan Hyundai FC (center) heads the ball during a K League 1 match against Daejeon Hana Citizen FC at Munsu Football Stadium in Ulsan, some 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, in this file photo taken May 28. (Yonhap)

Three international rookies were named to the South Korean men's national football team Monday for two upcoming friendly matches.

Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann unveiled his 23-man squad for matches against Peru and El Salvador later this month on home soil. The list features three first-time callups: Jeju United defender An Hyun-beom, KAA Gent midfielder Hong Hyun-seok and Ulsan Hyundai FC defender Park Yong-woo.

Hong, 23, has impressed in the top Belgian league in particular, establishing career highs with five goals and five assists in 31 matches this past season. Hong had previously played in Germany and Austria.

South Korea, world No. 27, will face the 21st-ranked Peru on June 16 in Busan, 320 kilometers southeast of Seoul. Four days later, South Korea will host No. 75 El Salvador in Daejeon, some 140 km south of the capital.

Klinsmann will try to collect his first win on the South Korean bench. South Korea played Colombia to a 2-2 draw in Klinsmann's debut here on March 24, and then lost to Uruguay 2-1 four days later.

Klinsmann is bringing back the same trio of strikers from the March friendlies: Hwang Ui-jo of FC Seoul, Cho Gue-sung of Jeonbuk Hyundai FC and Oh Hyeon-gyu of Celtic FC.

Conspicuous by his absence on the list is Ulsan striker Joo Min-kyu, who is leading the K League 1 this season with eight goals. Joo won the league scoring title in 2021 with 22 goals and then finished second last year with 17. No player has scored more goals than the 33-year-old in the K League 1 over the past two and a half seasons, but Joo is still looking for his first international appearance.

Veteran midfielder Son Jun-ho was named to the national team Monday despite being held in China for bribery allegations. Son has been in detention in Liaoning since mid-May. (Yonhap)