Various experiments such as a sagging striker, a midfielder, a forward striker, etc.
Two months before the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, coach Paulo Bento, who recalled Kang-in Lee (22, Mallorca) to the national football team after 18 months, checked the use of Lee Kang-in in many ways from the first training.
The national team, led by coach Bento, trained for about an hour and a half at the Paju NFC (Football Team Training Center) in Gyeonggi Province on the morning of the 20th.
The national team was assembled the day before to play two evaluation matches this month in preparation for the Qatar World Cup, which starts in November.
These two matches are the last test stage to be played by mobilizing all foreign players before finalizing the final 26 players for the World Cup.
It also means a lot to Lee Kang-in.
Kang-in Lee, who plays in Spain’s La Liga, was selected by Bento again after 1 year and 6 months after the evaluation match against Japan (0-3 loss) in March last year.
While playing in the big leagues in Europe, his shortcomings such as speed, defense, and stamina were highlighted, and he moved away from coach Bento’s idea, but this season, he has already scored 1 goal and 3 assists in La Liga, show a completely different appearance and seize the opportunity in the last evaluation game before the World Cup.
Kang-in Lee is currently tied for first place in the league assist category.
On the 19th, the first day of the assembly, Lee Kang-in entered Paju NFC late in the afternoon due to a flight delay and was unable to participate in training.
After lunch, Kang-in Lee greeted the players who were receiving physical therapy, etc., and the morning training on the 20th was the A team training that he participated in for the first time in 18 months.
The training was attended by 20 out of 26 trainers called by Bento.
In his team’s K League 1 match, striker Na Sang-ho (Seoul), who injured his ankle, and Jo Kyu-seong (Jeonbuk Hyundai) underwent indoor rehabilitation and recovery training.
A representative of the national team explained that in Jo Kyu-sung’s case, it was not due to a particular injury, but rather to relieve fatigue.
Due to the team’s schedule of matches, Kim Min-jae (Napoli), Hwang Ui-jo, Hwang In-beom (Olympiacos), and Jung Woo-young (Freiburg) will join the national team this afternoon.
Unlike the usual 15 minutes, the training was all held in front of reporters.
The training took place in a program that did not differ much from the usual with light running, stretching, ball possession, and mini games.
I went to the last one and did tactical training for about 10 minutes.
The opposing goalkeeper caught the long ball from the defensive half, connected it to the flank through the middle, and polished the offensive development from the cross to the end.
Initially, coach Bento placed Lee Kang-in as a striker sagging under Son Heung-min (Tottenham), as in his Mallorca team, and placed Chang-hoon Kwon (Director Cheon Kim) and Hee-chan Hwang (Wolverhampton) on both sides.
After that, Lee Kang-in was placed in midfield along with Lee Jae-seong (Mainz), and in the end, he moved to the left flank and continued to train with Hwang Hee-chan up front and Son Heung-min on the right
In a short time, he trained Lee Kang-in as a sagging striker, midfielder and winger.
Finally, we practiced free kicks in front of the penalty tee.
Kang-in Lee took the free kick with his left foot, Hee-chan Hwang took the lead from the free kick with his right foot, and Heung-min Son took the kick with both feet.
After training, Bento talked with Lee Kang-in for a while.
After announcing the national team roster on the 13th, coach Bento said, “The team is constantly observing how to use it, but the national team is thinking how to use it.”
Although this day’s training was held without strikers such as Hwang Ui-jo, Jo Kyu-sung, and Na Sang-ho, it also raised expectations about the possibility of a simultaneous sortie between Lee Kang-in and Son Heung-min.
Kang-in Lee, who has played 6 A games so far, started in a friendly against Georgia in September 2019, his debut, and then started alongside Son Heung-min in the second Asian Cup qualifier Qatar v Sri Lanka in October of the same year.
The last match when Son Heung-min and Lee Kang-in were together was a friendly against Qatar in November 2020.
At that time, Son Heung-min was playing full-time, and Lee Kang-in was replaced in the 31st minute of the second half.