Crisis coach Hwang Sun-hong (55) is trying to figure out how to utilize ‘Golden Boy’ Lee Kang-in (22-Paris Saint-Germain).
Hwang Sun-hong’s U-24 team, which will compete in the 텍사스홀덤 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games, began training in Changwon on Friday. However, there are many concerns. First, there are serious performance issues. The U-22 team, also coached by Hwang, lost 0-2 to Qatar in their first match of Group B of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Asian Cup 2024 qualifiers in Changwon on Saturday. Despite having a different lineup than the Asian Games squad, it was a chance to see Hwang’s tactics in action, and the monotonous attacking work and wide ball-to-ball gaps only added to the distrust.
As Hwang’s worries pile up, so do the calls for Lee Kang-in. At the time of the Asian Games roster announcement in July, Hwang was noncommittal about Lee’s participation in the Asian Games, stating that he was “seeking the cooperation of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) for Lee’s transfer”. To make matters worse, Lee suffered a quadriceps injury last month.
Fortunately, things have taken a positive turn recently. “According to PSG, Lee Kang-in’s recovery is very fast,” Hwang said on May 5, “and they said they would give me an answer on the 13th.” He hinted at the possibility of Lee joining the team before the Asian Games.
We can only hope for Lee Kang-in. Of course, as Hwang said, it’s not a good idea to rely on one player. However, maximizing the use of Lee Kang-in, one of the most talented players of all time, is the only way to revitalize the Asian Games team.
To do so, they need to figure out how to utilize him properly. In the past, Hwang has used Lee as a central midfielder. The expectation is that Lee will stir things up in the center and deliver creative passes to the front. However, Lee has also shown his ability as a winger, both at Mallorca (Spain) last season and at PSG this season. He’s just as powerful in the center, but he’s more creative when he gets the ball on the flanks, where there’s less pressure. If Lee doesn’t utilize his talents in the right clothes, he’ll have a tough road to the Asian Games.