South Korea national football head coach Shin Tae-yong will call up key players Ki Sung-yueng and Son Heung-min for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers despite their injuries.
Shin, who took over the team last month after the departure of Uli Stielike, will announce his 26-man squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Iran and Uzbekistan next Monday.
The 48-year-old coach said that he will pick the players who can meet his requirements unless they are injured this weekend. However, he insisted that Swansea’s Ki was an exception.
“I want to give Ki the captain’s armband even if he can’t play,” Shin told reporters during halftime at the Korea Football Association Cup quarterfinal between the Suwon Samsung Bluewings and Gwangju FC, as quoted by Yonhap News. “Ki has been serving a central role well in the national team.”
On the other hand, Ki also believed that Son could play for the national team after undergoing few English Premier League matches with Tottenham Hotspur.
“I think Son has recovered enough to play the World Cup qualifiers,” Shin said. “He will not have a big problem.”
“I can’t call up Son early, but once he returns to South Korea we will check up on his condition,” he said. “Then I have to think about whether I should start him or use him as a substitute.”
Ki had to undergo a surgery last month to remove inflammation in his right knee, while Son needed some time to recover as he broke his forearm during South Korea’s World Cup qualifier against Qatar in June.
The selected players will join the training sessions with the on 21 August at the National Football Center in Paju, north of Seoul.
The Taegeuk Warriors, who are currently in second place in Group A of the final Asian qualifying round, are scheduled to host already qualified Iran on 31 August and face Uzbekistan in Tashkent on 5 September for the finale.