Lake Klinsmann rekindles a lost rivalry
A new competition has emerged in the men’s national soccer team’s clean sweep: the sudden injury to “youngster” Hong Hyun-seok (24-Hent).
The Korea Football Association announced on Saturday that defender Park Jin-seop (28-North, pictured) has been called up to the national team in place of midfielder Hong Hyun-seok, who was confirmed to have a small stress fracture in his left shin. Park has been a member of the Taeguk Warriors since the first match of the 2026 North American World Cup Asia Second Qualifying Round against Singapore.
For Park, it’s a dramatic turn of events. He started as a third-stringer (Daejeon Korail) and progressed to the second division (Ansan-Daejeon) and the first division (Jeonbuk), but he was unsuccessful in joining the Armed Forces Athletic Corps (Commercial) and was forced to enlist this year.
However, he got his chance as a wildcard at the Hangzhou Asian Games, where he won a gold medal and received military service benefits. He was recognized for his versatility in adapting to different positions, not only as a midfielder, but also as a defender when he joined Jeonbuk.
Park’s emergence injects new competition into a squad that has been criticized for being stuck in a rut too early. Klinsmann only changed one goalkeeper in this call-up compared to the October call-up. With Park’s ability to play multiple positions, there are fewer targets to keep him on his toes.
Park’s first opportunity will be at defense. Klinsmann selected only three central defenders (Kim Min-jae, Kim Young-kwon, and Jeong Seung-hyun) for the first gateway to the North and Central American World Cup.
“I actually thought about doubling up on each position, but our three frontline strikers are doing so well that I dropped a central defender,” Klinsmann said, confirming that he actually had a fourth defender in mind.
Park Jin-seob is not only combative in defense, making bold tackles and getting into fights, but he also has precise passing skills as a midfielder. He’s not a left-footed defender, and he’s not paired with right-footed Kim Min-jae, but given that Klinsmann is not averse to the “right-footed (Jung Seung-hyun) + right-footed (Kim Min-jae)” combination, the competition is open.
Park Jin-seob may get more chances in the defensive midfield. For now, Park Yong-woo (Al Ain) is more of a reserve ahead of the Asian Cup next January, but the more options the better. Another defensive midfielder, Lee Sun-min (Gwangju), is a bit too small (178 cm-73 kg) to be a protector of the defense. In that sense, Park Jin-seop, who is also recognized as a defender, is likely to be a new card to play.
Park himself is confident in both positions, saying, “I always switch back and forth between (defender and defensive midfielder), so I’m not 카지노사이트 uncomfortable with it.” Now that he’s on the national team, something he’s always dreamed of, he’ll just have to do his best. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Park is bringing a new sense of urgency to the national team.