South Korea’s Kim Young-gwon calm ahead of World Cup
South Korea’s centre half, Kim Young-gwon will be on a mission in Brazil to prove he is Premier League quality, after being labelled just that while plying his trade in China for Guangzhou Evergrande.
His introduction to the game came playing futsal at university, and this has seen him gradually rise to prominence as one of the best in his position in Asia. Originally starting his career as a central midfielder, he was swiftly switched to the centre of the back four, after impressing with his defensive ability.
This coupled with calmness and composure with the ball at his feet, has earned him high praise from World Cup winner Marcello Lippi. The much revered manager, who has seen Kim’s career flourish under his tutelage in Guangzhou, even once recommended him to Sir Alex Ferguson, when he was in charge at Manchester United.
“I mentioned him in a chat with Ferguson and he is capable of playing for clubs like Manchester United,” Lippi said.
The player was realistic about his chances and expectations at the start of the season, though will undoubtedly find he will be an ever-present in the South Korea team in the summer, who are 13/8 to qualify from Group H.
Speaking to Asian media he said: “It is indeed a big year for me, with league and Asian titles to defend for my club and especially with strong opponents to play against in the World Cup. I pray and hope I can continue my good form and won’t pick up any injuries. I don’t fix my sights on results, but I am serious in making progress game after game. I am always hoping to be better tomorrow than today.”
Kim is still relatively young, at the age of 24, and still has his best years ahead of him. Whether new Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal latches onto Lippi’s advice will be interesting, with the Red Devils lacking centre backs.