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S. Korea unveils football roster for Asian Cup training camp in Ulsan

All Headlines 10:50 December 04, 2018

SEOUL, Dec. 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's football body on Tuesday unveiled the men's national team squad that will participate in a local training camp for an upcoming continental tournament.

The Korea Football Association (KFA) announced a list of 23 players who will train in Ulsan to prepare for the 2019 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup, which is scheduled to kick off in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Jan. 5.

The KFA said the players will assemble next Tuesday. Typically, the KFA calls up national players two weeks ahead of the tournament, but it recently reached an agreement with the K League, the operator of the country's pro football leagues, to allow local clubs to release their players early for the national team.

In this file photo taken on Nov. 18, 2018, South Korea national football team players and coaches gather ahead of their training at Perry Park in Brisbane, Australia. (Yonhap)

The roster doesn't feature Europe and Middle East-based players, due to their club schedules. However, the 23-man roster has three players from Japanese clubs, including Gamba Osaka striker Hwang Ui-jo, and two players from the Chinese Super League.

There were some surprises on the roster as head coach Paulo Bento included four new faces who got their first senior national team call up. They are Ulsan Hyundai FC midfielder Han Seung-gyu, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors midfielder Jang Yun-ho, Suwon Samsung Bluewings midfielder Kim Joon-hyung and FC Seoul forward Cho Young-wook.

Among them, Kim is considered the most surprising pick. The 22-year-old defensive midfielder played only five matches with his K League 1 club and has not represented South Korea in any age level.

Han, 22, was voted the Young Player of the Year at the 2018 K League Awards on Monday. He had five goals and seven assists in 31 matches and helped Ulsan to finish third in the K League 1.

Jang, 22, is a back-up midfielder for reigning K League 1 champions Jeonbuk and helped South Korea to win a gold medal at the 18th Asian Games.

Cho, 19, is a roving forward who played for South Korea at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup and the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship.

Another noteworthy national team member is Jeonbuk left back Kim Jin-soo, who last played for South Korea in March. The former Hoffenheim man, who has 34 caps, missed the 2018 FIFA World Cup due to a knee injury.

In this file photo taken on Nov. 16, 2018, South Korea national football team players train at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia. (Yonhap)

The Ulsan training camp will be the last opportunity for East Asian league-based players to make their case for squad selection. Bento will announce his final roster for the Asian Cup before departing for the UAE on Dec. 22.

South Korea are looking for their first continental title since 1960. The Taeguk Warriors are in Group C with China, Kyrgyzstan and the Philippines at the 2019 Asian Cup.

kdon@yna.co.kr
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