South Korea coach Uli Stielike on Monday announced a mostly overseas-based squad for next month’s Asian Cup.
The final list of 23 features just six players from the country’s K-League, including two goalkeepers.
23-year-old attacker Lee Jung-hyub, who plays for relegated army side Sangju Sangmu, was perhaps the biggest surprise with no previous international caps to his name.
Controversial striker Park Chu-young, who transferred to Saudi Arabia’s Al Shabab this summer, was perhaps the most notable omission after he failed to produce goals for the national team.
“The decision not to select Park was a very difficult one,” Stielike said of the former Arsenal man who’s scored just twice in 2014. “In the end, I was worried about his lack of goals.”
In-form Son Heung-min, Koo Ja-cheol, and Ki Sung-yueng were obvious selections from Europe, while veterans Cha Du-ri and Lee Keun-ho will be looking to best the Taeguk Warriors’ third-place finish in 2011 after losing to eventual champions Japan in a semi-final penalty shootout.
South Korea will face Saudi Arabia in a training match in Brisbane on January 4th before opening their group stage against Oman on January 10 in Canberra.
South Korea 23-man Asian Cup squad
Kim Jin-hyeon (Cerezo Osaka/Japan)
Kim Seung-gyu (Ulsan Hyundai)
Jung Sung-ryong (Suwon Bluewings)
Kim Jin-su (TSG Hoffenheim/Germany)
Park Joo-ho (Mainz 05/Germany)
Jang Hyun-soo (Guangzhou R&F/China)
Kim Young-gwon (Guangzhou Evergrande/China)
Kim Ju-young (FC Seoul)
Kwak Tae-hwi (Al-Hilal/Saudi Arabia)
Kim Chang-soo (Kashiwa Reysol/Japan)
Cha Du-ri (FC Seoul)
Lee Myeong-joo (Al Ain/UAE)
Ki Sung-yeung (Swansea City/Wales)
Han Kook-young (Qatar SC/Qatar)
Son Heung-min (Bayer Leverkusen/Germany)
Kim Min-woo (Sagan Tosu/Japan)
Koo Ja-cheol (Mainz 05/Germany)
Nam Tae-hee (Lekhwiya/Qatar)
Han Kyo-won (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors)
Lee Chun-yong (Bolton Wanderers/England)
Cho Young-cheol (Qatar SC/Qatar)
Lee Keun-ho (El-Jaish/Qatar)
Lee Jung-hyub (Sangju Sangmu)