Korea U-23 manager Hong Myung-Bo announced his 20-man squad for the upcoming 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China. As part of the plan to prepare for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, most of the squad has been made up of players under the age of 21 who was part of Hong’s side which advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Egypt.
Hong also opted to settle for two over-age players despite having three available slots for players over the age of 23. Goalkeeper Jung Sung-Ryong and defender Cho Yong-Hyung have been considered as strong candidates, but were reluctantly excluded due to club duties.
Kim Jung-Woo, 28, has been called up to rectify the scarcity of true defensive midfielders in this particular age group. The other over-age player slot has been handed to Park Ju-Young of AS Monaco as this will be the last opportunity for the 25 year-old to win his military exemption with a gold medal. It’s been reported initially that Monaco declined to release the striker, but the club later learned the importance of giving Park another shot at being free of military duty, especially after having extended his contract until 2013 earlier this year.
Celtic midfielder Ki Sung-Yong has also been included. Ki, similar to Park, is also keen on obtaining the military exemption by winning the Asian Games, but neither of the two European-based players are likely to be available for Cho Kwang-Rae‘s senior side at the 2011 Asian Cup in January.
Some of the surprising omissions are FC Seoul forward Lee Seung-Ryul and Ajax Amsterdam prospect Suk Hyun-Jun. Gyeongnam midfielder Yoon Bitgaram, a strong candidate for this season’s K-League Young Player of the Year Award, has also been left out as well as Hamburg SV standout Son Heung-Min who is still recovering from his foot injury.
The draw for the Asian Games group stage will be made on the 20th.
Asian Games squad
GK: Kim Seung-Kyu (Ulsan), Lee Bum-Young (Busan)
DF: Yoon Suk-Young (Chunnam), Hong Jung-Ho (Jeju), Kim Young-Gwon (FC Tokyo), Kim Ju-Young (Gyeongnam), Jang Seok-Won (Seongnam), Hong Cheol (Seongnam), Shin Kwang-Hoon (Pohang), Oh Jae-Seok (Suwon)
MF: Koo Ja-Cheol (Jeju), Ki Sung-Yong (Celtic), Kim Jung-Woo (Gwangju), Kim Min-Woo (Sagan Tosu), Seo Jung-Jin (Jeonbuk), Kim Bo-Kyung (Oita)
FW: Park Ju-Young (AS Monaco), Cho Young-Cheol (Niigata), Park Hee-Sung (Yonsei University), Ji Dong-Won (Chunnam)