National soccer team coach Jürgen Klinsmann’s comments are making waves. It’s a complaint about the K League.
Klinsmann held a press conference at the Conrad Hotel in Yeouido, Seoul, on Wednesday ahead of the team’s two World Cup qualifiers against Singapore and China.
During the press conference, Klinsmann was asked how he plans to solve the problem of thin depth in some positions, such as left and right fullbacks and defensive midfielders.
Three of the four fullbacks on the roster – Kim Jin-soo (31), Lee Ki-je (32) and Kim Tae-hwan (34) – are in their 30s. It wouldn’t be surprising if all three retire before the 2026 World Cup in North and Central America.굿모닝토토
“Both fullbacks and defensive midfielders are positions we’re struggling with,” Klinsmann said. “Lee Ki-je, Kim Tae-hwan, and Kim Jin-soo are showing good form, but they’re getting older. We are also changing the defensive midfield position with younger players.” “For both positions, we will continue to think internally. We are thinking about what measures to take if there is a problem,” he confessed.
He then went on to say something bitter about the K League.
He pointed out that the young players who made it to the quarterfinals of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023 are not getting enough opportunities in the league.
“Of course, there are players who have gone abroad, such as Brentford, but it is questionable how many of them are playing in the K League now,” Klinsmann said. “It seems to be very difficult for young players to get opportunities in Korea.”
“If Lee Kang-in (PSG) had played in the K League at 18, I doubt he would have been able to play. I think he grew into the player he is today because he was in Spain.”
This is the first time Klinsmann, who began coaching the national team in March, has specifically criticized the Korean soccer system.
However, there is not much interest in the K League and national team players, as the controversial Kim Min-jae is from the K League.
Kim Min-jae, who joined Yonsei after graduating from Suwon Gonggo, made his professional debut after being actively courted by Choi Kang-hee, the former head coach of Jeonbuk Hyundai. Unable to recruit him directly from the university, Choi let him play briefly at Gyeongju Hansuwon before bringing him to Jeonbuk in 2017.
Kim Min-jae, who also played actively for Gyeongju Hansuwon, grew up in Jeonbuk with Choi’s trust. Even though he was a rookie, he already recognized his abilities and actively used him. Despite some opposition, Choi recognized his potential and made him a regular starter. Choi also always praised his abilities and told him that he would be able to reach Europe.
In his first season, Kim played 29 games. Even though he was injured at the end of the season, Jeonbuk’s faith in him was stronger than anyone else.
He continued to be recognized in 2018. Although he struggled with injuries, he started 28 games in the K League 1 and played in a total of 30 matches that year.
Anyone with the ability can play. Kim Min-jae isn’t the only player currently playing in Europe who made it to the big leagues based on their performances in the K League. If you’re young and have the skills, you can always play.
It’s hard to understand the logic behind Kim Min-jae suddenly claiming that he doesn’t have any players to choose from when he hasn’t been able to organize his defense properly until after the controversy.
With World Cup qualifiers and the Asian Cup on the horizon, Klinsmann needs to be more thorough in his selections. While it’s a credit to Klinsmann that he’s open to dialog, it’s also a reason for him to waver.