September 26, 2022
RCD Mallorca’s South Korean midfielder Lee Kang-in has been enjoying a few of his finest

RCD Mallorca’s South Korean midfielder Lee Kang-in has been enjoying a few of his finest soccer of late, incomes the nomination for La Liga’s Participant of the Month for August and climbing to a tie for the league lead in assists.

And but, the 21-year-old says he has not modified one bit. His method to the sport has remained the identical, which he believes has led to his long-awaited choice to the South Korean nationwide workforce for upcoming friendlies and will even ship him to the World Cup in Qatar in November.

Lee Kang-in, midfielder on the South Korean males’s nationwide soccer workforce, speaks throughout a web-based press convention on the Nationwide Soccer Heart in Paju, simply north of Seoul in Gyeonggi Province, on Sept. 21, 2022, on this picture supplied by the Korea Soccer Affiliation. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

“I at all times attempt to get higher each second,” Lee mentioned Wednesday in a web-based interview from the Nationwide Soccer Heart in Paju, north of Seoul, the place he’d been coaching with the nationwide workforce since Monday. “I haven’t carried out something particular. I at all times take the identical method to the sector. I need to assist the workforce one of the best I can.”

He has been serving to Mallorca together with his playmaking chops, and now Lee will look to do the identical for South Korea once they host Costa Rica on Friday and Cameroon subsequent Tuesday. Lee’s final match with the senior nationwide workforce got here in March 2021.

South Korea head coach Paulo Bento is normally reluctant to debate particular person gamers’ omission or choice. Bento had ostensibly stored Lee off the workforce for the previous 18 months for Lee’s lack of versatility and his struggles on the defensive finish. Lee, for his half, has made notable progress in each points, having performed as a ahead in La Liga this season and displayed newfound dedication on protection.

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Regardless of spending over a yr on the skin wanting in throughout South Korea’s run by means of World Cup qualifiers and friendlies, Lee mentioned he by no means misplaced confidence.

“I at all times believed that, so long as I performed properly in La Liga and proved I may very well be an asset to the nationwide workforce, (Bento) would choose me,” Lee mentioned. “I’ll attempt to show to the teaching workers and my teammates that I can contribute an ideal deal to the workforce. If I can try this, I imagine I’ll go to the World Cup.”

Although the prospect of representing the nation on the huge match is thrilling, Lee mentioned he has tried to remain even-keeled.

“I feel each soccer participant desires to play on the World Cup,” mentioned Lee, who earned the Golden Ball as one of the best participant on the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup as an 18-year-old. “Nevertheless it’s not as if I’ve been working further laborious simply in order that I could make the World Cup workforce. I’ve at all times been attempting to enhance daily.”

Lee did acknowledge that the key distinction to date this season has been the constant enjoying time, as first-year head coach Javier Aguirre has given Lee extra alternatives than his predecessor, Vicente Moreno.

“He has proven a lot religion in me and has given me an opportunity to play in numerous matches,” Lee mentioned of Aguirre. “I don’t actually have any secret recipe for achievement this yr, apart from that I’ve been enjoying lots.”

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Lee has principally been deployed as an attacking midfielder in worldwide play, however he has confirmed in Spain that he can deal with different duties. He’ll embrace no matter he’s requested by Bento this month, Lee mentioned.

“I haven’t thought that a lot about my place,” Lee mentioned. “It’s actually as much as the coach. Wherever I play, I’ll attempt to assist the workforce.”