Among the European players this season, if you are to choose a player that attracts as much attention as Kim Min-jae (Naples), Lee Kang-in (22, Mallorca) will definitely be the first player. Lee Kang-in, who has risen to Mallorca’s confident starting lineup, became the first Korean player to achieve double-digit attack points in a single season in Spain’s Primera Liga, and received many praises for his goal with a tremendous solo dribble reminiscent of Son Heung-min.
Hwang Seon-hong, head coach of the U-24 national team, who is aiming for a third consecutive Asian Games, will not refuse Lee Kang-in, who performed outstandingly at the Qatar World Cup last year. In this U-24 national team, more second-line resources compete than ever before, but Lee Kang-in is sure to be the starter unless there is a special issue such as injury. The key is where he plays in the second line.
Lee Kang-in preferred to play in the center rather than the flanks in his past. Accordingly, he has mainly played as an attacking midfielder, false nine, or shadow striker. However, this season, showing off his personal best skills, he mainly plays as a side resource in Mallorca. His speed and ability to join the defense, which had been cited as weaknesses in the meantime, also improved greatly under the guidance of Mallorca coach Javier Aguire.
Now Lee Kang-in has become a ‘multiplayer’ who can fulfill his role wherever he is placed in the second line. Coach Hwang said, “Recently, I play a lot on the side of my team, and I am showing a very good figure. In his head, he has an idea (how to write it). Competitiveness in other positions is the key, but since I have some time in September, I will fully communicate and let Lee Kang-in play well and play in his favorite position.”
Lee Kang-in, who has risen as a perfect second-line resource that does not cover the sides and center, so finding the best position can be said to be one of the important tasks for winning three consecutive Asian Games. In that respect, the words ‘competitiveness in other positions’ mentioned by coach Hwang cannot be overlooked lightly. 안전놀이터
Lee Kang-in now has the skills to start as a starting player anywhere in the U-24 national team, either on the side or in the center. However, if you limit it to the side resources, there are many players who are good enough to not have to insist on the side to Lee Kang-in. Starting with Eom Won-sang (Ulsan) and Song Min-gyu (Jeonbuk), it is difficult to pick all of them on one hand, including Cho Young-wook (Gimcheon), Umji-seong (Gwangju), and Yang Hyun-jun (Gangwon).
On the other hand, there are no resources to entrust the center except for Lee Kang-in. Young-Jun Ko (Pohang) and Woo-Young Jung (Freiburg) stand out, but they are aggressive enough to be classified as strikers. Rather than overheating the competition by adding Lee Kang-in to the side of the already hot second line, it may be better to place him in the center from the beginning and let Lee Kang-in lead the attack and stab the kill pass without any burden.