South Korea U-23 captain Son Heung-min has admitted to needing more work before he's comfortable leading his national team on a more permanent basis.
The Tottenham Hotspur star started his first match in the Asian Games men's football event on Monday, captaining South Korea in their final Group E match, against Kyrgyzstan U-23 at the Si Jalak Harupat Stadium. He also scored the only goal of the match in the 63rd minute, helping his side beat the Central Asians 1-0 to finish the group stage in second place. They will now face Iran U-23 in the round of 16.
"I don't think I'm good enough yet, while my teammates are all doing a good job. Now we move on to the tougher stage of the competition. I will hold discussions with them and also debate on certain matters," Chosun Ilbo quoted him as saying.
The South Korea also senior team star also defended forward Hwang Hee-chan, who wasted a number of chances to score when he was brought on by head coach Kim Hak-bum in the second half.
"It's important to score and also to win, but it isn't easy. He brought a lot of energy along when he came on and plays an important role in the team. If he can play with thought, his teammates can then build up from this and play even better," he said.
"I had multiple chances as well, but I give a lot of thought as a forward. Every player tries to improve themselves."
Commenting on Iran whom they will face on Thursday, August 23, the 26-year old player praised the quality possessed by the West Asian side.
"Iran are formidable at senior as well as junior levels. But if we prepare well, we can produce a positive result. I am confident our team can win the match.
""We must prepare ourselves, as there is not much time left to train. The most important thing to work on is our communication," he explained.
The defending champions, who fielded their strongest side including three overaged players, Son included, had been expected to breeze through the group stage, especially after they thrashed Bahrain U-23 6-0 in their opening match. But a shock 2-1 defeat to a plucky Malaysia U-23 in their second group match required them to win against Kyrgyzstan in their last, in order to secure qualification as group runners up.
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