With Son Heung-min getting off to a slow start to the new season, do South Korea need a plan B for the FIFA World Cup?

After the lofty standards he set for himself in his 2021-22 Premier League Golden Boot award winning campaign, it wouldn’t be too hard to say Son Heung-min has had a slow start to the new season.

With six matches in the Premier League, and another in the Champions League, the usually prolific striker has yet to open his account by this term.

Before the evaluation gets too critical, it has to be said that Son has a lot of credit to his credit – not just from last season’s 23 goals in the league but throughout his entire previous seven years with Spurs.

Former Barcelona player, Kubo hopes to be ready to make his mark
Will Queiroz’s return boost Iran’s FIFA World Cup hopes?
Japan ace Doan still has a lot he wants to achieve in his career

After all, every striker will inevitably face a similar drought (Tottenham teammate Harry Kane was notorious for his scoring sensitivity back in August). It should be noted that Son continues to provide a lot for his team in other areas even if he is not hitting goals at the moment.

As such, Tottenham boss Antonio Conte will continue to be patient with his star man, knowing he will turn out well in the end.

But time is not a plentiful thing for another human being who will watch the son’s performance closely.

Just three months into the FIFA World Cup Finals, South Korea coach Paulo Bento will be watching with slight if not great apprehension.

Given the fact that the Taeguk Warriors have had tough tests in Group H against Portugal, Uruguay and Ghana, it’s no secret that they will need their outstanding captain to literally shoot if they are to stand any chance of getting into the role. from 16.

It may only be nice to have world-class talent like Son at their disposal, but the flip side to that is an unhealthy over-reliance on an individual player.

So does South Korea have enough options in reserve as a plan B?

First, it must be remembered that despite his prolific scoring methods, Son is a far cry from the traditional striker who serves as a fulcrum in attack.

For South Korea, that role usually falls to Hwang Ui-ju – who recently joined Olympiacos on loan after suffering relegation to the second division with Bordeaux last season.

With 23 Ligue 1 goals scored over the past two years, Huang’s strike rate in France is good enough, as is his international tally of 16 goals from 47 internationals.

However, doubts remain as to whether Hwang has the ability to single-handedly win a match for the Taeguk Warriors – especially in the World Cup – so who else is there?

It was no secret that Bento’s options were very limited in that ninth place.

The Portuguese tactician has consistently selected Cho Gui-Sung as Hwang’s deputy even when the 24-year-old was playing in the South Korean second division. away from the local theatre.

Other amazing options are either just as inexperienced as Kim Gun-hee and Cho Young-wook, or have been completely ignored – Joo Min-kyu somehow continued to wait for his chance at international level despite becoming the first domestic K League scorer 1 in five years with his impressive 22 goals.

So, if the attackers don’t pose as a proper backup plan, what other areas of the field could produce an alternate winner for Son?

With he also currently playing in the Premier League, Wolverhampton striker Hwang Hee-chan is the most obvious candidate.

The 26-year-old showed glimpses of attacking ability that saw him rise for the first time alongside Erling Haaland and Takumi Minamino at Red Bull Salzburg, although he has yet to establish himself at Molineux.

Lee Jae-sung, who has now entered his second season in the Bundesliga for Mainz, is another member of the European-based Bento squad who could provide a star role as a third-placed attacker, while Nam Tae Hee – who started his professional career in France – could also To provide a creative spark even if he’s not the most famous name on the Taeguk Warriors list.

However, in terms of a real game-changer, perhaps the leading candidate is a bit behind in the middle of the field – midfielder Hwang In-bum.

An interesting career that saw him move abroad first led him to MLS with the Vancouver Whitecaps, and then led him to emerge as one of South Korea’s brightest prospects after joining Rubin Kazan, despite the recent complications playing for a Russian team since then. To Olympiakos along with Hwang Ui-jo.

While he arguably does his best work as a deep playmaker, the presence of defensive-minded Jung Woo-young has seen Hwang In-beom often perform a square-to-square role for the Taegeuk Warriors – a role he has proven to be equally adept when using his skill set. An offensive never seen before.

However, as he is only 25 years old and still finding his feet in European football, it can be difficult for him to step up and fill Son’s shoes if the need arises.

Then again, it will always be nearly impossible to be a world class talent.

South Korea may still need to hope that Plan A works at the World Cup, and there is certainly still enough time for Son to start shooting again before their opening match against Uruguay comes on November 24.

Except that, Plan B can only require all of the above alternatives to join forces to fill the undeniable quality on a world scale that is irreplaceable on its own.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: