After playing full-time in the 2024 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Asian Cup qualifiers and helping South Korea qualify for the tournament, Kwon Hyuk-kyu (Celtic) has vowed to become a reliable third option for South Korea.
Hwang Sun-hong’s men defeated Myanmar 3-0 in their third Group B match of the 2024 AFC U-23 Asian Cup Qualifiers on Wednesday afternoon at the Changwon Football Center in Gyeongnam, South Korea.
Kwon Hyuk-kyu started as the second central midfielder on the day, distributing the ball forward and creating chances for South Korea.
“It wasn’t an easy game and we struggled on the bad grass, but it feels good to win with three points,” Kwon said in the post-match interview.
“After losing to Qatar in the first match and then winning the second match by one point, we showed a performance that disappointed our fans,” said Kwon, who breathed a sigh of relief, saying, “It’s good to win with a big margin.”
“In the first match, I think I was a little jet-lagged and distracted,” Kwon said, adding, “I have to go back to Europe right away, and (jet lag) is something I have to overcome.”
Kwon Hyuk-kyu, who left the K League 2 Busan Ice Park in July to wear a Celtic jersey in the Scottish League, has yet to play a league game for Celtic.
“I already thought about this situation when I went to Europe,” Kwon said, adding, “For now, there are good players in the same position, including captain Callum McGregor, so I will overcome it through good competition.”
Just training with European players is a great way for Kwon to grow.
“There are parts where I struggle with the intensity of the pressure,” he says, “but I’m proud to see myself getting better as I train. I’m looking forward to seeing how much I’ll grow by the end of the season.” “It was a good choice to go to Europe,” he said.
“I have a lot to learn from the captain, McGregor. I’m not worried about not playing right now, I’m just going to learn and grow a lot and hopefully get a starting spot in the future.”
He also has his sights set on the A team.
“The defensive midfield position is a position where relatively few talented players are discovered, but I will try my best to become a reliable player to replace Ki Sung-yong (Seoul) and Jung Woo-young (Alkalage) in the third line,” Kwon said. 토토