Jürgen Klinsmann (GER) is in a happy predicament. Thanks to a “center back boom” in Korean football.
One of Klinsmann’s main tasks since taking over has been to find a reliable partner for Kim Min-jae (26-Napoli). Kim Young-kwon (33-Ulsan Hyundai) had long been Kim’s partner, but given that he was born in 1990, it was necessary to find an alternative. Finding a new defender to lead the national team alongside one of the best defenders in Europe was a major challenge for Klinsmann.
Fortunately, Klinsmann has been 메이저놀이터 smiling from the start. The list of candidates is already growing. There’s a strong pool of players that he’ll have to make happy decisions about, and heartbreaking decisions about who to leave out. This is why the phrase “center-back bumper crop” is not an exaggeration.
One of the most exciting names to emerge in recent times is Kim Ji-Soo (18-Brentford). The teenager recently signed a five-year contract with English Premier League (EPL) side Brentford. He has no international experience yet, but could be called up by Klinsmann at any time depending on his performance in the EPL this season. Along with Kim Min-jae, he could form a pleasing ‘European big league’ center back duo.
Park Ji-soo (29-Portimonense), who has long been a backup center back for the national team, is also a strong candidate. He drew applause from fans in June’s A match when both Kim Min-jae and Kim Young-kwon were sidelined with injuries, showing his competitiveness in defense and buildup. He had the misfortune of suffering an injury just before the World Cup in Qatar, but has been consistently competitive in the Portuguese league since then. A clear advantage over the other candidates.
Kim Joo-sung (22-FC Seoul), who has already been called up by Klinsmann, is also being eyed as a possible long-term partner for Kim. In particular, Kim shares many similarities with Kim Young-kwon. He’s a left-footed center back who is one of the best in the league in terms of forward passes and other buildup metrics. It is also significant that Klinsmann handpicked him to play defense in the absence of the main defenders. This means he’s likely to be in Klinsmann’s plans for the future.
They’re not the only ones. Jo Yoo-min (26, Daejeon Hana Citizen), who missed the June call-up due to injury but played at the World Cup in Qatar, is another player who is always on the shortlist of defenders for the national team. Despite being sidelined by injury, he has been a key part of Daejeon’s surge this season. Lee Han-beom (21-Seoul) has been so competitive that some have suggested he will be called up to the A team ahead of Kim Joo-sung. It’s only a matter of time before he joins the Klinsmann.
There are many players who are performing at the highest level in the K League as well as in Europe, so the competition for a spot on the national team will be fierce from now on. The competition for the Taeguk-mark in Klinsmann’s eyes could lead to a strengthening of the national team’s competitiveness as well as the players themselves. It could also lead to more tactical changes, such as using three center backs instead of two. Klinsmann’s concerns are good news for Korean soccer.