Seoul: Valencia CF’s teen prospect Lee Kang-in will join Korea Republic for the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland, the Korea Football Association (KFA) announced on Thursday.
KFA said Valencia agreed to release Lee for the May 23 -June 15 tournament in Poland. U-20 head coach Chung Jung-yong returned from Spain last week after meeting with Valencia representatives, the KFA added, and the attacking midfielder will report to training camp at the National Football Center in Paju, north of Seoul, next Tuesday.
The KFA said it’s in talks with other European clubs for the release of Korean players, namely Jeong Woo-yeong of Bayern Munich in Germany’s Bundesliga and Kim Jung-min of FC Liefering in Austria.
The final 21-man roster will be announced on May 1, the KFA said.
Lee, still just 18, received his first call-up to the senior national team last month for two friendly matches at home.
He was the seventh youngest player to don the Taeguk Warriors jersey, and he would have become the third youngest to play for Korea Republic, had coach Paulo Bento not kept Lee on the bench against both Bolivia and Colombia.
Last October, Lee became the youngest Korean to debut in European football, when he got the start against Ebro in the round of 32 of the Copa del Rey.
Coach Chung will open his camp on Monday and his team will train at home through May 3. They will depart for Poland on May 4 and will face New Zealand and Ecuador in tuneup matches.
Korea Republic have been paired with Portugal, Argentina and South Africa in Group F.
There are six groups of four, and the top two teams from each group, plus four best third-place teams, will advance to the Round of 16.
[#NOTICE] 이강인, U-20 대표팀 추가 발탁이강인(발렌시아) 선수가 FIFA U-20 월드컵 대비 국내 훈련 명단에 추가 발탁되었습니다.이강인은 4월 23일(화) 오후 ‘파주 NFC’에 입소할 예정입니다. pic.twitter.com/LpZJwobXj9
— 대한축구협회(KFA) (@theKFA) April 18, 2019
This is the 22nd edition of FIFA’s signature youth tournament. Korea Republic’s best performance came in 1983 in Mexico, where they placed fourth.
Korea Republic hosted the previous U-20 tournament in 2017 and were knocked out in the Round of 16.
Sources: yonhapnews.co.kr, AFP