Men’s national soccer team coach Jürgen Klinsmann had created a situation where he had no choice but to play Kim Min-jae, and had been talking about the vague hope that the player would want to play. With a lack of numbers as well as fitness issues at center back, an unexpected alternative has emerged. Specialized midfielder Hong Hyun-seok’s injury led to the selection of multiplayer Park Jin-seob.
The national team will take on Singapore at 8 p.m. on Saturday at the Seoul World Cup Stadium in the first match of the second Asian qualifying round for the 2026 North American Football Confederations Cup. It will be Klinsmann’s first game in charge of the team, which has been playing only exhibition matches.
A day before the match, Hong Hyun-seok was replaced by Park Jin-seob. Hong Hyun-seok was diagnosed with an early stress fracture, and Park joined the squad that night.
In doing so, Park turned 2023 from the biggest crisis of his career into the best year of his career. The 28-year-old, who had originally applied for the job but was rejected, was expected to play professionally until this year and then enlist in some form of public service. But at the Hangzhou Asian Games, he was called up by his old coach Hwang Sun-hong and won his first tae kwon do, becoming a gold medalist. He parlayed that into his first A team call-up.
Park Jin-seop can contribute to the team in a different way than Hong Hyun-seok. Klinsmann had stopped looking for new players in October to prepare for the Asian Cup in Qatar next January, but Hong’s minor injury forced him to call up a new player.
Park Jin-seop is a physically fit and stable player who can play the role of a specialized defensive midfielder, which is a weakness of the national team. In recent years, the national team has only selected two defensive midfielders, Park Yong-woo and Lee Sun-min. Park Yong-woo is proving himself worthy of a starting role by the Asian Cup, but his replacement, Lee Sun-min, is more of a build-up hub who is more forward and active than a specialized defensive midfielder. Neither player is in great physical shape, so a third option was needed to provide a solid barrier in front of the back four. Park Jin-seob is a player who, if he makes the national team, could play alongside Park Yong-woo or Lee Sun-min to strengthen the national team’s midfield defense. Compared to Hong Hyun-seok, whose style overlaps with the existing players on the national team, Park offers a different kind of competitiveness.
His ability to play center back is even more valuable given the thin depth at the position. Klinsmann has started only three center backs in these two games. This is one less than the usual double squad of four, even though there is no limit to the number of players. It was more of a declaration that he would neither select nor use center backs other than Kim Min-jae, Kim Young-kwon, and Jung Seung-hyun. 보스토토 주소
Even when German media first raised concerns about Kim Min-jae’s fitness on the 15th, a day before the match, Klinsmann said, “He’ll be ready to play the day after the flight. He will want to play. He won’t want to rest,” Klinsmann made it clear that he would play him.
Klinsmann’s decision to go with more than a double squad in attack and midfield, but only three center backs, is understandable given the nature of the position, which requires very few substitutions during a match. The