South Korea stick to ´home´ players
Arsenal's Park Chu-Young is one of only three non-K-League players in South Korea's squad.
Manager Choi Kang-Hee named first national team squad for this month's friendly against Uzbekistan and vital World Cup qualifier against Kuwait on Friday.
South Korea are level with Lebanon in Group B with 10 points apiece but lead on goal difference. They will need at least a draw against Kuwait to guarantee a spot in the final round of qualifiers, which begin in June.
Choi, who last year managed K-League champions and Asian Champions League runners-up Jeonbuk Motors, reluctantly took over the Taeguk Warriors after previous coach Cho Kwang-Rae was dismissed for poor results, including a shock 2-1 loss to Lebanon.
Aside from Park, Al Sadd's Lee Jung-Soo and Celtic's Ki Sung-Yueng were the only overseas-based players who made Choi's roster, while five players among those called up came from his former Jeonbuk Motors squad.
Though Park has failed to find a spot in Arsene Wenger's lineup, it seems that Choi could not resist including the veteran despite expressing doubts earlier this week.
"We've brought together players that can come through in the clutch, in situations like this," Choi said at a press conference announcing the roster. "We wanted experience and veteran presence."
He also elaborated on the increase in K-League players at the expense of Europe-based stars.
"There's no doubting their talent and abilities, since they went directly from K-League to European leagues," the former South Korea international explained in referring to Korean players in Europe.
"It's just that they're dealing with injuries and a lack of playing opportunities.
"We're only focused on this Kuwait game this time, and rather than looking at the big picture, we wanted players that can help the team win that one game."
South Korea hosts Uzbekistan in a friendly on February 25 before welcoming Kuwait four days later in Seoul's World Cup Stadium.South Korea squad:Goalkeeper:
Jung Sung-ryong, Kim Young-gwang, Kwon Soon-taeDefender:
Park Won-jae, Cho Sung-hwan, Kwak Tae-hwi, Choi How-jin, Oh Bum-seok, Lee Jung-soo, Hong Jung-ho, Kim Hyung-il, Kim Chang-sooMidfielder:
Han Sang-woon, Kim Jung-woo, Kim Sang-sik, Lee Keun-ho, Choi Tae-wook, Ki Sung-yong, Kim Chi-woo, Ha Dae-sung, Shin Hyung-min, Kim Doo-hyeon, Km Jae-sungStrikers:
Lee Dong-gook, Park Ju-Young, Kim Sin-wook