Now is the time for coach Hwang Seon-hong to figure out how to integrate Lee Kang-in into the team.
The Korea Football Association (KFA) said on the 15th, “As a result of discussions with Lee Kang-in’s team PSG, it has been decided that Lee Kang-in will join the Asian Games national team after his team’s home match against Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League (UCL) on the 19th, French local time. “The final agreement was reached on the night of the 14th, Korean time. Accordingly, Lee Kang-in plans to move to Hangzhou, China, on the 20th, French local time, and then join the Asian Games national team,” the official announced.
KFA then said, “After receiving an email from the PSG club on the 13th asking for permission to be selected for the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games on the condition that the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup selection schedule be adjusted, we discussed with PSG until late at night on the 14th. Final decision. He also explained the background of the discussions with PSG, saying, “I received PSG’s official response on the night of the 14th that I would be allowed to join the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games national team on the 20th without any other preconditions.”
In fact, until the afternoon of the 14th, it was very unclear whether Lee Kang-in would join the Asian Games national team. Hwang Seon-hong, head coach of the Asian Games national team, said that PSG would respond on the 13th (local time) about whether Lee Kang-in would join the Asian Games representative team and whether he would be released.
KFA also said, “Lee Kang-in will likely be in Paju tomorrow (the 14th) and Coach Hwang will mention the updated part in the meantime. PSG said that they will let us know whether he will be called up on the 13th. We have not heard anything from the association level yet.” .
However, Coach Hwang did not look good during an interview at Paju NFC on the 14th. He said, “It’s frustrating. I’m personally communicating with Kang-in. Lee Kang-in wants to join as soon as possible. However, the timing of his joining with PSG has not been coordinated. The association is in close communication with PSG. The timing of his joining will be decided as soon as possible. “I hope I can focus on the team,” he said, adding that there has still been no agreement on whether or not Lee Kang-in will be called up and the schedule.
In addition, Coach Hwang said, “I have not yet received an official answer on when he will join. I am feeling frustrated about that. We decided to contact him on the 13th to see if his injury has fully recovered, but there has been no official answer yet.” He expressed his position that he was embarrassed.
This is a situation where the plan of coach Hwang Seon-hong, who had aimed for three consecutive Asian Games gold medals by organizing an attack centered on Lee Kang-in, could go completely wrong. He said, “I would like to come in 1-2 games before the group stage, but that doesn’t seem to be possible. PSG seems to have put in place various conditions. They have put in place conditions such as the Asian Cup qualifiers in January. There has been good discussion on those matters.” “I hope he joins as soon as possible,” he said, looking forward to Lee Kang-in joining the team as soon as possible.
It must have been frustrating for coach Hwang Seon-hong, too, because the later Lee Kang-in joined, the more likely he was to have problems with his teammates and organizational skills with the team.
However, in the early morning of the 15th, PSG changed its position drastically. Reporter Fabricio Romano, who is well versed in European soccer news, reported on the 15th, “I understand that PSG has decided to give Lee Kang-in the green light to participate in the Asian Games. PSG will soon make an announcement about Lee Kang-in’s Asian Games issue.”
After Reporter Romano’s report came out, KFA’s official announcement appeared. PSG decided to let Lee Kang-in go after the Dortmund game without any conditions. It was a very difficult decision for PSG as well.
PSG was unable to find a replacement as Neymar and Lionel Messi left the team at the same time. Although they made many great signings to the offensive line, such as Gonzalo Hamus, Ousmane Dembele, and Rendal Colo Muani, there was no suitable player who could lead the attack in the center.
Vitinya and Warren Jair Emery took turns playing roles, but no clear answer was found in the attack assembly. Accordingly, the change that Luis Enrique PSG and his coaching staff considered was the appointment of Lee Kang-in as a midfielder.
French media ‘Le Parisien’ said, “PSG wants to make Lee Kang-in a playmaker. With Messi and Neymar leaving the team, PSG needs to find a new creator. Coach Enrique trusts Lee Kang-in, and the staff believes Lee Kang-in is a playmaker. It was reported that “they want to transform it into a .”
Originally, Coach Enrique classified Lee Kang-in as a left and right winger resource. However, with the reinforcement of a certain resource in the right winger position바카라, Dembele, and the return of Mbappe in the left winger position, there are no more worries.
If Lee Kang-in had continued to be considered as a side resource, it could have been difficult for Lee Kang-in to compete for the starting position. Fortunately, thanks to the trust of coach Enrique and the coaching staff, Lee Kang-in’s role change was possible.
PSG was just preparing to change the use of Lee Kang-in as a playmaker. As Lee Kang-in got injured right before the international match in September, we were unable to use him as a playmaker on the pitch. PSG was reluctant to send Lee Kang-in to the Asian Games ahead of an important change, but made a great decision for the player’s career.
It was confirmed in Coach Hwang’s remarks that Lee Kang-in’s will for the Asian Games was strong, but it would not have been an easy decision for Lee Kang-in. Lee Kang-in, who transferred to PSG, is not yet in a position to guarantee his starting position. It would be better for him to remain with the team and continue to perform in order to win coach Enrique’s favor at PSG.
Assuming he advances to the Asian Games finals, Lee Kang-in will not be able to play a total of four games, including Marseille, Clermont, Newcastle, and Stade Rennes. In the meantime, if another player steps up to the starting position, Lee Kang-in will have to return to PSG and start competing for the starting position from zero base. This is a team with a lot of changes, and coach Enrique has strong trust in certain players, so Lee Kang-in can only be happy if the team wins a gold medal.
Now the key is in the hands of Director Hwang. Coach Hwang said that he is constantly talking to Lee Kang-in and that he is thinking about how to use Lee Kang-in, but like reality, soccer often does not follow the way you want. The last time Coach Hwang met and played with Lee Kang-in in person was at the AFC U-23 Asian Cup in June 2021.
Coach Hwang and Lee Kang-in have not prepared for a game together for over two years. There may have been a lot of thought about how to hire Lee Kang-in, but it may not work out the way you want. This is because players join during the competition rather than in the process of preparing for the competition.
Still, PSG made a great decision, and Lee Kang-in joined the Asian Games national team, even putting off the competition for the starting position. In a situation where public opinion about Director Hwang is already not very good, the atmosphere will worsen even more if the method of appointing Lee Kang-in is shaken. Furthermore, a third consecutive Asian Games gold medal will be far away.