Tottenham’s Son leads South Korea squad for Asian Cup

South Korea and Tottenham striker, Son Heung-min

Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min was named in South Korea’s Asian Cup squad on Thursday and coach Jurgen Klinsmann said it was “about time” they ended their 64-year continental title drought.

Wolves forward Hwang Hee-chan, who scored his 10th Premier League goal of the season against Brentford on Wednesday, was also among Klinsmann’s 26-man selection for the tournament, which kicks off in Qatar on January 12.

Son will captain a squad that includes Bayern Munich defender Kim Min-jae and 22-year-old Paris Saint-Germain attacking midfielder Lee Kang-in.

South Korea have not won the Asian Cup since 1960 and Klinsmann said: “It’s all about timing now and I think we are ready for this big, big competition.

“It’s 64 years — 64 years is a long time for Korea. It’s about time that we get this done.”

South Korea have been drawn in Group E and will face Malaysia, Jordan and Bahrain in the first round.

They lost 1-0 to eventual champions Qatar in the quarter-finals of the 2019 Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

Klinsmann, a World Cup winner with Germany in 1990, will have one of the strongest squads in the tournament in Qatar and he said he could “see it in their eyes that they are hungry for it”.

“I have a good feeling because they’re doing well at their clubs,” he said.

“They’re healthy, they’re fit, they’re ambitious and they’re very hungry. This is the foundation for playing a good tournament.”

Son will be appearing at his fourth Asian Cup and was part of the South Korea team that lost to hosts Australia in the 2015 final.

Hwang scored twice in Wolves’ 4-1 win over Brentford to move one goal behind Son, who has 11, in the Premier League scoring charts.

‘One of the favourites’

Lee is also making a splash after moving to Paris from Mallorca in the summer, and Klinsmann described him as “a flower that starts to bloom”.

“We have a lot of different pieces in that roster and that makes us one of the favourites for the Asian Cup,” said Klinsmann.

“We have to fine tune these elements over the next couple of weeks and then go into the tournament with confidence.”

Klinsmann was unable to select Hwang Ui-jo, who has been suspended by South Korea because of a police investigation into allegations he illegally filmed an ex-girlfriend.

The Norwich City forward is accused of filming a sexual encounter with the former partner on his phone without consent. He denies the allegation.

“It’s very difficult for us coaches to deal with that because it’s not in our power,” said Klinsmann.

South Korea squad:

Goalkeepers: Kim Seung-gyu (Al Shabab/KSA), Jo Hyeon-woo (Ulsan), Song Bum-keun (Shonan Bellmare/JPN)

Defenders: Kim Young-gwon (Ulsan), Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich/GER), Jung Seung-hyun (Ulsan), Kim Ju-sung (FC Seoul), Kim Ji-soo (Brentford/ENG), Seol Young-woo (Ulsan), Kim Tae-hwan (Ulsan), Lee Ki-je (Suwon), Kim Jin-su (Jeonbuk)

Midfielders: Park Yong-woo (Al Ain/UAE), Hwang In-beom (Red Star Belgrade/SRB), Hong Hyun-seok (Gent/BEL), Lee Soon-min (Gwangju), Lee Jae-sung (Mainz/GER), Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Son Heung-min (Tottenham/ENG), Jeong Woo-yeong (Stuttgart/GER), Hwang Hee-chan (Wolves/ENG), Moon Seon-min (Jeonbuk), Park Jin-seob (Jeonbuk), Yang Hyun-jun (Celtic/SCO)

Strikers: Cho Gue-sung (Midtjylland/DEN), Oh Hyeon-gyu (Celtic/SCO)