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Son in the frame for Korea Republic's Asian Games title defence

Saturday, September 30, 2017
son heungmin jpg

Seoul: New Korea Republic U-23 national team head coach Kim Bong-gil may call upon Tottenham Hotspur attacker Son Heung-min (pictured above, left) to spearhead the team's defence of the Asian Games football gold medal. 

Son will be one of the three over-aged players in the squad under the right circumstances, said Kim. 

Football in the Asian Games is restricted to U-23 teams with each side allowed to register three over-aged players.

"Son is recognised by everyone as the best player," Kim said. "But we still have lots of time left. If conditions are met, I think we can pick him."

Son, a former Bayer Leverkusen man, previously competed at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, but Korea Republic were eliminated in the quarter-finals.

Kim, appointed as head coach on Tuesday, will lead Korea Republic at the AFC U-23 Championship in January, 2018 and then the Asian Games in Indonesia in August.

"I didn't expect to be selected for the job," he said. "I'm still dazed."

Korea Republic's U-23 squad will compete in the AFC U-23 Championship and the Asian Games in 2018. 

Korea Republic won the gold medal at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon under Lee Kwang-jong, who passed away last year due to leukemia. 

Kim said his goal is to continue winning at the Asiad for the sake of the country's football and for Lee.

"I will prepare hard to win our second straight gold medal, so that Lee's achievement won't be ruined," he said. 

Before going to the Asian Games, Kim first needs to prepare for the AFC U-23 Championship in China. 

The 51-year-old coach said he will soon finalise his backroom staff and set up training schedules for upcoming competitions.

Sources: Lagardère Sports, Yonhap, AFC