Jung Ho-yeon, Better Than Lee Soon-min

Played in front of interim coach Hwang Sun-hong of the ‘Hangzhou Gold Medal Cooperation’ and joined the national team

“I’m trying to make another national team player this year. First of all, the team needs to perform well. That way, many people will come to our games to get attention.”

This is what Lee Jung-hyo, head coach of Gwangju FC in the K League 1 professional soccer team, left to the reporters before playing the opening game of the 2024 season against FC Seoul on the 2nd.

In Gwangju, which ranked third last season, the team’s highest ranking in the first division, Lee Soon-min was chosen by former national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann and had the honor of wearing the national flag.

As Lee Soon-min moved to Daejeon Hana Citizen ahead of the 2024 season, Gwangju again became a team without any national team players.

Starting the new season, Lee expressed his bold ambition to produce another national team player. When asked who he is, however, he declined to comment further.

Ten days later, he joined the national team in Gwangju under Lee. He is Jung Ho-yeon, a midfielder who played with Lee Soon-min in the midfield during the last season.

Coach Hwang Sun-hong, the “interim head coach” of the national soccer team, called out Jung Ho-yeon at the Korea Football Center in Jongno-gu, Seoul on the 11th by announcing the list of the national team to participate in the second consecutive Asian qualifiers for the 2026 North-Central America World Cup against Thailand.

Coincidentally, Lee Soon-min, who finished accompanying Lee, was not called by Hwang.

Coach Lee thinks Jung Ho-yeon is a better player than Lee Soon-min, who sent him away.

After the opening match against Seoul, which won 2-0 thanks to Jung Ho-yeon’s strong performance, coach Lee laughed lightly when asked if he felt Lee Soon-min’s absence.

“Did you see Jung Ho-yeon?” Lee said. “I think I proved it through today’s performance. If you are better than Lee Soon-min, you are better than him, but you are not worse than him.”

In fact, coach Hwang visited Gwangju Football Stadium at the time to watch Jung Ho-yeon’s performance, and eventually selected him as a member of the national team.

Coach Hwang said, “I observed the K-League and had a player in good condition in mind,” revealing the background of selecting “new faces” such as Jung Ho-yeon.

“It’s a team that needs to perform best, so the coaching staff carefully reviewed the decision and made the final decision,” he said. “The door to the national team is always open to players playing in the K-League.”

In fact, in this season’s K-League, where he played the first and second rounds, Jung Ho-yeon performed the best among the third-line midfielders.

This season, Jung Ho-yeon has become a key resource in Lee’s unique soccer, which values build-up work at the back.

Jung Ho-yeon, who recorded a 91.6% pass success rate in two games, also contributed greatly in defense, blocking opponent attacks 4.5 times per game.

Gwangju, which defeated Seoul 2-0 in the first round through a build-up centered on Jung Ho-yeon, also won 4-2 in the second game with Gangwon FC with four goals in the second half alone.

In addition, Jung Ho-yeon is a “familiar player” to Hwang.

Jung Ho-yeon participated in the Hangzhou Asian Games as a member of the U-24 national team last year, contributing to Hwang Sun-hong winning the gold medal. 스포츠토토

Jung Ho-yeon, who won the competition with prominent players of his age at the time, played in all seven games of the competition and proudly played as a main player.

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