JEONJU, North Jeolla Provinc-- Three national football team members who play with the defending South Korean league champions said Wednesday they will be ready to show their performance at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
South Korea's head coach Shin Tae-yong on Monday announced a provisional 28-man roster for the World Cup in Russia, where the men's national team will face Germany, Sweden and Mexico in Group F.
Among the 28 players, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, the reigning champions of the top flight K League 1, saw four of their players make the list, the most of any club. Although left back Kim Jin-su, who is recovering from knee injury, appears to be on the bubble, towering striker Kim Shin-wook, midfielder Lee Jae-sung and right back Lee Yong are expected to make the cut for the final 23-player roster scheduled to be unveiled before June 4.
|Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors players Ricardo Lopes, Lim Sun-young and Lee Jae-sung (from L) celebrate Lopes` first goal in their AFC Champions League round of 16 match against Buriram United in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province, on May 15. (Yonhap)|
Kim, who is looking for his second World Cup appearance, said he has become a better player than he was four years ago.
"The memories of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil pushed me to work harder," Kim said. "This time, it will be different."
The 30-year-old, who boasts a 196-centimeter frame, will have to vie for a starter's spot in the front line next to Tottenham Hotspur star Son Heung-min. Kim has 10 goals in 46 caps.
"I had lots of opportunities under head coach Shin Tae-yong, and he helps me on creating scoring chances," he said. "Whether I score, or help my teammates to score, I will help my team to find the back of the net."
Right back Lee Yong said he is ready to deliver fine crosses to his teammates. The 31-year-old has so far made 24 appearances for South Korea.
"I need to work hard to help my team even if we create a single opportunity," he said. "I'll study hard to deliver passes that our attackers would like to receive."
Midfielder Lee Jae-sung, the reigning K League 1 MVP, said his task is to improve his stamina and stay healthy. The 25-year-old, who has five goals in 32 caps, has played in South Korea's last 10 matches.
"I'm trying to maintain my muscles and avoid injuries," he said. "I have to follow national team schedules when I get called up, so my first job should be recovering my physical strength."
South Korea will begin training with 28 players at the National Football Center in Paju, north of Seoul, from next Monday to prepare for their two World Cup tuneup matches at home. South Korea will face Honduras in Daegu on May 28 and take on Bosnia and Herzegovina in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province, on June 1. (Yonhap)