After 5 years since Lee Kang-in, a Korean has been selected as one of the ‘English World’s Top 60 Prospects’… The main character is ‘U-17 Captain + PORO Youth’ Kim Myung-joon.

South Korean soccer hopeful Lee Kang-in (22-Paris Saint-Germain) has been named The Guardian’s Young Player of the Year for the first time since the “genius midfielder” was named.

Every year, the British newspaper The Guardian releases its annual Next Generation 60 list of the best prospects in world soccer. On Nov. 11 (local time), the 2023 edition was unveiled, and there were no Korean players among the 60.

The protagonist is Kim Myung-jun (17), a Pohang Steelers youth player and captain of the U-17 national team. Born in 2006, Kim stood out at the 2023 U-17 Asian Cup in Thailand last June, where he scored four goals, the second-most in the tournament, to lead South Korea to a runner-up finish. The Guardian said: “I was impressed with the maturity he showed at the U-17 Asian Cup. Agile and adept at passing and shooting, Kim is also a captain who leads by example and earns the respect of his teammates.”

Kim is the fifth Korean player to be named in the Guardian’s Next Generation, which has been running for nine years since 2014. Seo Jung-hyun was selected in 2014, Lee Seung-woo (Suwon FC) in 2015, Kim Jung-min (Busan I-Park) in 2016, and most recently Lee Kang-in (Valencia) in 2018. Kim Myung-jun made the list after a five-year hiatus following Lee Kang-in.

The Guardian’s “Next Generation” is a list of the world’s top soccer prospects, so most of the players who are now “world stars” have been through this list. Elling Holland (Man City) and Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid) in 2017, and Lee Kang-in, Rodrigo (Real Madrid), and Hvitsa Hvarachelia (Napoli) in 2018. Japan’s Jun Nishigawa and Uzbekistan’s Yasurbek Yarolidinov, who played against Hwang Sun-hong at the Hangzhou Asian Games, which concluded on Aug. 8, were selected for 2019.

Kim, who is 1.83 meters tall, cites Harry Kane (Bayern Munich) as his role model, according to his Korea Football Association profile. He participated in the ‘2023 GROUND.N K League Youth Championship’ in July and said, “I always liked Kane, I watch videos and try to imitate him a lot. People talk about him a lot. I hear a lot of people calling me Kane.”레고토토

Kim also said, “It’s been my dream since I was a kid to play overseas. It seemed a bit far away, but after going to the Asian Cup, I had hope, so I think I’ve gotten a little closer.” He did not hide his ambition to play in Europe.

Kim will compete at the 2023 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Indonesia in November as part of the U-17 team led by Byun Sung-hwan. The tournament attracts top European scouts in search of “hidden gems.

“European players have good physicality,” says Kim. We want to show that we are not outclassed in the physical department, and we want to beat our opponents with our technical skills,” said Kim.


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