South Korea coach Choi Kang-Hee says he is concerned by star striker Park Chu-Young's lack of game action at Arsenal ahead of his nation's vital 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Kuwait on Feb. 29.
Choi traveled to the United Kingdom in the past week to watch several Europe-based Koreans in action, but all all on his itinerary failed to see any playing time.
Park's lack of minutes is the most pressing concern for Choi, with the Korea skipper only managing five appearances for the Gunners since joining them from Monaco in August.
“He has at least some positive thoughts, as he is with a world-class team like Arsenal,” Choi told reporters at Incheon International Airport upon his return. “But he is not playing in games and I felt that Park is not on [Arsenal coach Arsene] Wenger’s mind.”
Choi's comments hinted he may ponder overlooking Park for the clash, which Korea must get a result from to progress to the fourth round of World Cup qualifying through Asia.
The only South Korean to take to the park over the weekend in the United Kingdom was the retired Park Ji-Sung, as Celtic pair Ki Sung-Yueng and Cha Du-Ri along with Sunderland's Ji Dong-Won all missed out.
“I haven’t really learned much [from my trip]," Choi said. "Since players in foreign leagues are not playing in their games, I have a lot to consider.”
The Taeguk Warriors boss also admitted he was concerned by the lack of time available for preparation for the game later this month, with FIFA rules requiring clubs release players only four days in advance of the international date. Given travel times, Choi said that created a difficult situation.
“In reality, if we consider each club’s situation, I think they will be able to join the team on Feb. 27,” Choi said. “But it’s impossible that those players can show a strong performance with the team in just a day.”