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Bento giving hopefuls a chance

Seoul: Several players are being given the opportunity to show their credentials as Korea Republic head coach Paulo Bento prepares to finalise his squad for the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.

The likes of Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-min and Newcastle United midfielder Ki Sung-yueng were not called up for the friendlies against Australia (Saturday) and Uzbekistan (November 20).

Hamburg SV forward Hwang Hee-chan (pictured below) withdrew from the squad due to an injury on Tuesday, joining right-back Kim Moon-hwan on the sidelines.

Bento, however, was unperturbed that he will be missing several key players for the first friendlies of his reign on foreign soil.

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"Before we finalise our roster for the Asian Cup, I want to test three new players and others who haven't played much for the national team," said Bento to local media.

"We'll test new players and will let them understand what our style of play is like," he said. "The players are working hard, so we'll help each other to try to make one team."

Besides calling up squad regulars Lee Chung-yong of VfL Bochum and Koo Ja-cheol of FC Augsburg, Bento will also be trying out Na Sang-ho, Lee You-hyeon and Kim Jung-min - who have been selected for the first time.

Bento, who has guided Korea Republic to two wins and two draws in four matches since assuming the head coach post in August, is also looking forward to playing away.

"I think it's going to be a good opportunity for us to grow," Bento said. "It will give us good experience because we are going to have more away matches in the future."

Korea Republic, who are in Group C at the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 with China PR, Philippines and Kyrgyz Republic, are seeking their first Continental title - having won their last of two in 1960.

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