‘First Taegeuk mark at age 33’ Joo Min-gyu “I put my head down and earnestly think of myself as the youngest.”

“I’m proud of myself for not giving up even though I had a lot of injuries I hope other players have hope too.”
Joo Min-gyu passes to the front.

‘Flowers that bloom late are more beautiful.’

This is the text of a banner hung in the stands at Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium on the 12th, when the second leg of the 2023-2024 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) quarterfinals was held between Ulsan HD and Jeonbuk Hyundai.

It was a celebration of striker Joo Min-gyu and fullback Lee Myung-jae, who were included in the national team roster for the March international match announced the day before.

In particular, the cheers for Joo Min-gyu, who was the top scorer in the 2021 and 2023 seasons and was the best striker in the K-League in recent years, has been on the list of targets many times, but was ignored repeatedly, and was the first to wear the Taegeuk symbol.

Joo Min-gyu is 33 years and 333 days old as of the date of announcement, making him the oldest player in history to be selected for the national team for the first time.

Joo Min-gyu, who had been quiet and reserved on the day of the announcement ahead of the important match against Jeonbuk despite the big situation, smiled brightly only after playing as a starter and playing on the pitch until the 42nd minute of the second half in front of interim coach Hwang Sun-hong, who visited the site that day.

Lee Soo-bin and Joo Min-gyu competing

Joo Min-gyu said, “It took a very long time. I got hurt a lot during that time, and there were moments when I wanted to give up, but I prepared for several seasons and persevered until the end, and I’m really happy that it bore fruit. I’m proud of myself for not giving up.” revealed.

“I try to feel good about my wife, who teases me by calling me ‘older brother,’ but says, ‘After all, you’re number one, right?’” he said with a smile, adding, “It would have been nice if I had joined the national team when I was younger, but I think I wasn’t good enough at that age.” “I’m grateful just to be able to go in,” he said.

Next, Joo Min-gyu said, “The fans have wanted me to join the national team more than anyone else, and I was able to endure because the fans who like not only our team but also the K-League gave me a lot of support. I am really grateful.”

Coach Hwang Seon-hong, who was a leading striker for the national team during his active years, responded to a question about Joo Min-gyu at the press conference announcing the national team roster by saying, “There is no player who has scored more than 50 goals in the league over the past three years. There is no need for further explanation.”

Coach Hwang Seon-hong watching the Ulsan-Jeonbuk game

Regarding this, Joo Min-gyu said, “I had been wondering what more I could do to get into the national team, but I had a lot of disappointments and lost confidence, but I was very happy to see the coach’s words in an article and receive recognition,” and “I achieved my dream because I did not give up. “I hope other players also have hope,” he emphasized.

When Joo Min-gyu plays in the third round of the 2026 North and Central America World Cup Asia 2nd qualifier against Thailand held at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on the 21st, he will also set the record for the oldest international match debut (33 years, 343 days).In order to participate, adapting to the national team atmosphere is a priority.

Joo Min-gyu said emphatically, “Thinking of myself as the youngest member, I plan to ‘put my head down’ and work hard, really earnestly.”

Regarding the meeting with world-class striker Son Heung-min (Tottenham), he said, “Isn’t he the best player in the world? Although it is short, I plan to hang out with him and learn his strengths during that time.”

Joo Min-gyu also expressed his excitement about being coached by Coach Hwang, saying, “I’m looking forward to it and feel honored. I want to learn the skills and know-how of how he scored so many goals.” 섯다

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