Thursday Sep 28, 2023

Lee Soon-min on her first national team trip: “I had hopes of being in the same league as the Europeans”

Lee Soon-min shares his thoughts on playing his first national team match.

Gwangju FC defeated FC Seoul 1-0 in the Hana OneQ K League 1 2023 at Seoul World Cup Stadium on Sunday (July 17). Heo Yul’s goal in the fourth minute of the first half was protected throughout the match to solidify their third place in the league (48 points).

Lee earned his first national team call-up at the A-League in September. He came on as a substitute in both the Wales and Saudi Arabia matches and made his first appearance under the Korean flag.

Lee showed his tireless stamina by playing full-time for Gwangju just three days after returning from England. He helped build up the offense by acting as an attacking link, while his precise positioning and dedicated defense helped the team keep a clean sheet.

Lee’s mental strength was the key to maintaining his fitness after returning home. “Actually, I feel like I’m playing at 3 a.m. right now,” he told reporters in the post-match mix zone, “but I think it’s more about the mindset than the body, so I tried not to think about that in this game, even though I was tired and exhausted,” he said, adding that he focused on preparing and thinking as usual.

For Lee, everything about the national team was a new experience. From meeting and training with her teammates to talking to the national coach and adapting to different tactics from her home team, she learned a lot.

One of the highlights was meeting Son Heung-min. “Everything was an episode,” Lee said. When I went downstairs to have breakfast, Heung-min was in front of me, and I was impressed by all of that,” he said. “He took care of me so well when I first went there. He told me to talk to him anytime if I needed anything, and I felt like everything was solved just by listening to him,” he said, adding that Son Heung-min’s presence was amazing.

In response to a question about who he became close with, he said, “Everyone treated me well, and I got to know a lot of K League players while living with them. Hyun Woo-hyung took care of me a lot, and I’m the same age as Hyun-beom and Seung-hyun, so they helped me a lot, too.”

Jürgen Klinsmann played Lee in a slightly higher position than he did in Gwangju for the two European matches, which led to criticism that Lee’s strengths were not being fully utilized and that Klinsmann was playing the wrong player.

But it was a necessary adjustment. Lee said that the position was not what Klinsmann initially wanted, “Inbum came in after not having a good preseason, so he expected that it would be difficult for him to play the full 90 minutes, so I think he wanted me to come in in the second half and be more stable and provide a lot of help on the defensive side of the ball, so he put me in that way.”

“I had a face-to-face meeting with Coach Klinsmann and we talked a lot, so I was able to hear what he was looking for and why he picked me. He told me that he wanted me to press, bother, and harass the opponent more on the field, and that the national team needs a lot of that,” Lee said, adding that he asked her to play tough.

“He emphasized energy a lot. “He emphasized a lot of energy, and he wanted me to be a good link in the middle to help the team go up, whether it’s in transition or when we get the ball to the front with the back buildup.

Lee acknowledged that the national team experience was a major turning point in his soccer career. “I felt a lot of things from the overseas trips themselves. I had a lot of good influences from the environment. We trained and played as a team with really good players. The opponents were all representing their countries, and some of them were in the Premier League, so there was something that I really felt when I was playing, not in a written sense, but in an emotional sense,” he said, explaining that there was something direct about facing European players.바카라사이트

It gave her confidence. “I realized that foreign players are really good, but I’m not at a level that I can’t reach. I saw a lot of hope that if I try a little harder, I can be in the same position and on the same line as them.”

To do so, Lee reiterated that they need to be more humble and work from where they are. “I need to be more humble. Instead of being arrogant, I saw hope that if I knew my shortcomings and made up for them, I could definitely do better. At this point, I need to be humble and focus on the things I need to work on,” he said, expressing his desire to do better in Gwangju.


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