Lee Jin-hyeon (Daejeon Hana Citizen) sympathized with Park Joo-ho (Suwon FC) who said, ‘If you have a chance to advance to Europe, you must challenge yourself.’
This winter, K-League’s advance into Europe became a hot topic. Based on his performance at Suwon Samsung, Oh Hyun-kyu, who accompanied the 2022 Qatar World Cup as a reserve member, was courted by Celtic and headed to Scotland. Park Ji-soo, who became a free agent (FA) after completing his military service at Sangmu Kim Cheon, took on a new challenge by joining Portimonense in the Portuguese first division. The possibility of entering Europe, such as Cho Kyu-seong (Jeonbuk Hyundai) and Lee Seung-woo (Suwon FC), also received attention, and the two players decided to postpone the challenge for a while through discussions with the club and coach.
Park Joo-ho, who attended the ‘2023 K-League Winter Battery Training Media Camp’ on the 7th, advised juniors who have dreams of advancing to Europe to ‘go out unconditionally when the opportunity arises’. “Advancing to Europe is a great motivation for players,” he said. “It will change a lot both in football and in the way you view football. It’s good to experience it.” It was advice based on the experience of playing in Basel (Switzerland), Mainz 05, and Borussia Dortmund 안전놀이터(Germany) in the past.
Lee Jin-hyun, who made his professional debut on the stage in Austria, had the same idea. At the media camp held on the 13th, “I agree with you 100%. After playing in Europe, I felt that I had grown even more. If other players take on the challenge, I’m sure there will be something to learn.”
Lee Jin-hyun himself also has the will to try again on the European stage. He actually even moved into action this winter. He joined Legia Warsaw (Poland) training as a free agent (FA) before signing a new contract with Daejeon and hit the European stage. Lee Jin-hyun said, “It is right to do my best in Daejeon now.
He cited adaptability and strong physicality as the conditions for success on the European stage that he personally experienced. “When asked about the difference between Korea and Europe, I always say it is the game tempo and physical. Technically, Korean players are sufficiently competitive. However, there are many players who have difficulty adapting to the game tempo, physical, and local culture. Even if you have good skills, it is difficult to survive if you cannot keep up with the pace of the game or adapt to the culture of another country.”
He also emphasized that it is advantageous to be able to speak a foreign language in order to adapt to the local environment. “I want to say that it’s good to go out quickly when you’re young. That way you can adapt quickly to the language and culture. In particular, words are important. Not many Korean players are fluent in English or foreign languages.” I can quickly adapt to the game, and I can communicate tactically with the coaching staff.”
Park Joo-ho mentioned ‘mental’. “The essential element is mentality. You need a mentality that can endure when you are having a hard time and can maintain it when you are doing well,” he said. “Before I went to Europe, I asked a director what he should have first in Europe. They talked about mentality, not fear. I heard that you need to have the mentality to keep fighting and bumping into strong opponents. That’s the most important thing.”