Coach Park Hang-seo struggles to source fresh strikers for national team

By Lam Thoa   December 7, 2020 | 05:02 pm PT
Coach Park Hang-seo struggles to source fresh strikers for national team
Coach Park Hang-seo during a training session of the national football team on December 6, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa.
Despite calling up 36 players to the national team, coach Park Hang-seo remains unsatisfied with the quality and depth of new strikers.

"We are lacking strikers. The main reason is most of the clubs in V. League prefer to use foreign strikers, about 70-80 percent of them. We have tried to find some new faces but no one is on the same level as Nguyen Tien Linh, Nguyen Cong Phuong, and Ha Duc Chinh, our three current strikers," Park said prior to the year's first national team training Sunday.

Park called up eight players for the December 6 to 28 training session. Among them, only Phan Van Long of SHB Da Nang is new, the rest having been called up on prior occasions. Due to the lack of strikers, Park has called up Nguyen Van Quyet for the first time since AFF Cup 2018. Despite his excellent performance at Hanoi FC, Park did not choose Quyet for big national tournaments like Asian Cup 2019 or World Cup 2022 Asian qualifiers.

"I called Quyet up for my new formation. I have attended games of Hanoi FC and Quyet has always been on form. He is always on my list of considerations. Whoever plays well at their club can get chosen. But once they do, they have to prove their ability and fulfill the requests of the coaching team," Park said.

For the current training period, Park also chose 12 new faces to up the competition for each position.

"I have four important goals. First is for the players to get used to their position in the national team, because it can be different from playing for their clubs. Second is for players who have normal injuries to have the best condition to recover. Third is creating more competition in the national team by calling up new faces. For the final goal, I split the team into groups to discuss our targets in 2021 and how to achieve them. I want the players to speak their mind," Park said.

In addition to trying new tactics to the outdated 3-4-3 formation, Park has required physical analysis and nutrition adjustment for the team.

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Vietnam will only resume their World Cup 2022 Asian qualifier campaign next March when they meet Malaysia. Later, the national team will defend their 2018 AFF Cup title.

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