Asiad men’s football coach dying to have PSG midfielder back healthy

Hwang Sun-hong, head coach of the South Korean men's football team at the upcoming Asian Games, said Tuesday he hopes to have injured Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) midfielder Lee Kang-in in full health as quickly as possible.

Hwang will be leading his under-24 squad to Hangzhou, China, in a bid to win South Korea's third consecutive Asiad gold medal. Lee, 22, is widely regarded as the best player for South Korea in this age group, a highly-skilled offensive talent who also brings FIFA World Cup experience.

Lee is on the mend at the moment, though. PSG announced on Aug. 22 that Lee had suffered a left quadriceps injury and that he would "remain in treatment" at least until the end of the FIFA international break in mid-September.

The injury kept Lee off the senior men's national team for friendlies against Wales and Saudi Arabia this month. But with South Korea's first match at the Asian Games scheduled for Sept. 19, Hwang believes Lee should be ready by then.

"According to official correspondence from PSG, Lee Kang-in has been recovering really quickly," Hwang told reporters before a training session at Changwon Stadium in the southeastern city of Changwon. "PSG will give us the answer on Kang-in's status for the Asian Games on Sept. 13."

Hwang said he had also been in touch with Lee himself.

"He told me he will start training with the ball this week. I think he is getting ready to play for the club next weekend. We'd like to have him as soon as possible, so scheduling is something he has to work out on his end."

Hwang noted that it has been over a year since Lee last played with the current core of the U-24 team.

"He's a great player, but he still has to get on the same page with the rest of the team and make adjustments to his positioning," Hwang added. "I think there's a possibility that he will join us right before our first match. Personally, I can't have him here fast enough.

As for where the midfielder will play, Hwang said, "I can't make that decision right now because I haven't seen him train with the team yet. He and I have had some discussions, but it's one thing to talk about such things and quite another to work on them on the field."

Hwang's team will train in Changwon through next Tuesday. They will head north to the National Football Center in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, on Sept. 13, and then travel to China on Sept. 16.

South Korea's first group stage match is Sept. 19 against Kuwait, followed by Thailand on Sept. 21 and Bahrain on Sept. 24.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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