Vietnam forward calls his national team spot well-deserved

By Duc Dong   March 14, 2024 | 11:49 pm PT
Vietnam forward calls his national team spot well-deserved
Forward Nguyen Cong Phuong answers to the press in Hanoi on March 13, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong
Nguyen Cong Phuong, who's currently not receiving playing time with his club in Japan, said he deserved his recent call up to the national football team because of his hard work and high intensity in training.

Phuong arrived in Hanoi on Wednesday to prepare for two games against Indonesia in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers later this month.

This is the first time that the 29-year-old forward has returned to the national team after not being chosen for the 2023 Asian Cup due to the lack of game time in Japan.

"As a footballer, everyone is glad to play for the national team. I have tried so hard and got called up this time," Phuong told the media on Wednesday.

"One thing for sure, nobody can get on the national team if they don't perform well at club level. Coach Troussier has accessed my form and abilities before calling me up. I have tried my best, so returning to the team was not surprising."

Amid the Vietnam national team's current injury crisis, coach Philippe Troussier traveled to Japan to check on Phuong's form at the end of February. At Yokohama FC, Phuong has rarely played in official games, but he still had chances in friendly matches.

"Coach Troussier went to Japan as part of his job. Through this trip, he saw how players at Japanese clubs trained. I still trained with high intensity every day and played in friendly matches. It's up to the coach to evaluate and make choices according to his criteria, so I respect that very much," Phuong said.

Phuong said although he has not played regularly, the football environment in Japan is very developed, so he has continued to support his skills.

"I think not being able to play is not necessarily a difficult time for me. I'm not young anymore, but with a good football environment, I will learn a lot. That is also one of the reasons I decided to stay in Japan."

Due to striker Pham Tuan Hai's injury, coach Troussier called up six other attackers. Phuong will have to compete with Nguyen Van Tung, Nguyen Dinh Bac, Nham Manh Dung, Nguyen Van Toan and Nguyen Tien Linh for a spot in the lineup against Indonesia.

Phuong believes that Indonesia have developed quickly recently.

"Every football system progresses and develops through each stage and Indonesia are no exception. We should look at their current strength to find a good strategy to defeat them," he said.

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