S. Korean midfielder learning from Xavi, Gabi at Qatari club

October 9, 2018

PAJU, South Korea, Oct. 9 (Yonhap) — South Korean midfielder Jung Woo-young said Tuesday that he is learning a lot from his Spanish teammates at Al Sadd.

Jung is one of the 25 players selected for South Korea’s friendly matches this month. The Taeguk Warriors will host Uruguay on Friday and take on Panama four days later.

The 28-year-old moved to Qatari side Al Sadd from Japan’s Vissel Kobe in July and has been adjusting to his new club. He recently started in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League semifinals first leg against Persepolis.

“There’s not much difference when it comes to football. It’s just that the distance from South Korea got further,” Jung said of his move to Al Sadd before training at the National Football Center (NFC) in Paju, north of Seoul. “I’m still learning many things, such as culture and life outside football.”

South Korean midfielder Jung Woo-young speaks to reporters at the National Football Center in Paju, north of Seoul, on Oct. 9, 2018. (Yonhap)

South Korean midfielder Jung Woo-young speaks to reporters at the National Football Center in Paju, north of Seoul, on Oct. 9, 2018. (Yonhap)

Al Sadd have two midfielders with experiences in Spanish La Liga on their squad: former FC Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez and former Atletico Madrid captain Gabi Fernandez. Jung said he is learning a lot from the two midfielders.

“They’re world-class players and there’s no need to talk about Xavi,” he said. “I’m not only learning about football, but also so many things as a person from them.”

Against Uruguay and Panama, Jung is likely to partner with Ki Sung-yueng in the center midfield. He urged that South Korea should go for win against the two teams.

“Uruguay have top players in both offense and defense, but we must play to win because we’re playing at home,” he said. “We first need to stabilize our defense.”

Jung, who has 35 caps for South Korea, said he is ready to protect the back four and challenge Uruguay’s star striker, Edinson Cavani.

“I think I would have lots of physical contact with Cavani,” he said. “Our center backs will first challenge him, and I have to support them.”

Jung started in South Korea’s two friendlies last month. South Korea beat Costa Rica 2-0 and played to a 0-0 draw with Chile in September.

“I think we are off to a good start of making this team for the Asian Cup and for the next World Cup,” he said. “It’s difficult to have a buildup process from the back against top class teams, but since that’s the style of Paulo Bento, we’ll prepare well.”

South Korean midfielder Jung Woo-young (L) trains with teammate Nam Tae-hee at the National Football Center in Paju, north of Seoul, on Oct. 9, 2018. (Yonhap)

South Korean midfielder Jung Woo-young (L) trains with teammate Nam Tae-hee at the National Football Center in Paju, north of Seoul, on Oct. 9, 2018. (Yonhap)

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