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Korea Republic unveil roster for training camp in Ulsan

Seoul: Korea Republic's football body on Tuesday unveiled the men's national team squad that will participate in a local training camp for the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.

The Korea Football Association (KFA) announced a list of 23 players who will train in Ulsan to prepare for UAE 2019, which is scheduled to kick off in the United Arab Emirates on January 5.

The KFA said the players will assemble next Tuesday and train until December 20. Typically, the KFA calls up national players two weeks ahead of the tournament, but it recently reached an agreement with the K League, the operator of the country's pro football leagues, to allow local clubs to release their players early for the national team.

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The roster doesn't feature Europe or Central/West-based players, due to their club schedules. However, the 23-man roster has three players from Japanese clubs, including Gamba Osaka striker Hwang Ui-jo, and two players from the Chinese Super League.

There were some surprises on the roster as head coach Paulo Bento included four new faces who received their first senior national team call up. They are Ulsan Hyundai FC midfielder Han Seung-gyu, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors midfielder Jang Yun-ho, Suwon Samsung Bluewings midfielder Kim Joon-hyung and FC Seoul forward Cho Young-wook.

Among them, Kim Joon-hyung is considered the most surprising pick. The 22-year-old defensive midfielder played only five matches with his K League 1 club and has not represented Korea Republic at any age level.

Han Seung-gyu, 22, was voted the Young Player of the Year at the 2018 K League Awards on Monday. He scored five goals and contributed seven assists in 31 matches and helped Ulsan finish third in the K League 1.

Jang Yun-ho, 22, is a back-up midfielder for reigning K League 1 champions Jeonbuk and helped Korea Republic to win the gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.

Cho Young-wook, 19, is a roving forward who played for Korea Republic at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup and the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship in China.

Another noteworthy national team member is Jeonbuk left-back Kim Jin-soo (pictured above), who last played for Korea Republic in March. The former Hoffenheim man, who has 34 caps, missed the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia due to a knee injury.

The Ulsan training camp will be the last opportunity for East Asian league-based players to make their case for squad selection. Bento will announce his final roster for the AFC Asian Cup on December 20, three days before departing for the UAE.

Korea Republic are vying for their first continental title since 1960. The Taeguk Warriors are in Group C with China, Kyrgyz Republic and the Philippines at the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.

Goalkeepers (3): Kim Seung-gyu (Vissel Kobe, Japan), Kim Jin-hyeon (Cerezo Osaka, Japan), Jo Hyeon-woo (Daegu FC)

Defenders (9): Kim Young-gwon (Guangzhou Evergrande, China), Kim Min-jae, Kim Jin-soo and Lee Yong (all Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors), Park Ji-soo (Gyeongnam FC), Kim Moon-hwan (Busan IPark), Hong Chul (Suwon Samsung Bluewings), Park Joo-ho (Ulsan Hyundai), Kwon Kyung-won (Tianjin Quanjian, China)

Midfielders (6): Hwang In-beom (Daejeon Citizen), Ju Se-jong (Asan Mugunghwa), Lee Jin-hyun (Pohang Steelers), Han Seung-gyu (Ulsan Hyundai), Kim Joon-hyung (Suwon Samsung Bluewings), Jang Yun-ho (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors)

Forwards (5): Moon Seon-min (Incheon United), Kim Seung-dae (Pohang Steelers), Na Sang-ho (Gwangju FC), Cho Young-wook (FC Seoul), Hwang Ui-jo (Gamba Osaka, Japan)

Sources: Yonhap News Agency, Korea Football Association

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