“Every footballer dreams of going to a big club. I respect his opinion.”
In a month’s time, Hwang Ui-jo, 31, and FC Seoul’s six-month short-term loan deal will come to an end. Hwang will be with Seoul until 30 June. If you ask him where he’ll be playing from July onwards, it’s probably fair to say he doesn’t know yet.
After playing for Nottingham Forest (England) and being loaned to Olympiakos (Greece), Hwang found himself out of favour at the club and moved to Seoul. With FIFA rules only allowing transfers to leagues that operate on a spring and autumn calendar, Seoul coach Ahn Ik-soo, who worked with Hwang in his early 20s, approached him. He joined on a six-month short-term loan. In 2017, Seoul returned to the K League after a six-year absence.토토사이트
Hwang played 14 of the team’s 15 games this season. Two goals and two assists, a disappointing figure for a national team striker.
However, there’s more to him than what’s on the stat sheet. He didn’t just score goals. He runs all over the pitch to create chances for his teammates, battles with opposing defenders to secure the attacking third, and presses hard in defence to win possession.
Coach Ahn Ik-soo said, “He’s matured and has a sense of responsibility, unlike his younger self. He also has a team spirit. As a Korean football legend, he is doing a good job. It’s just that his efforts to show his maturity are not producing good results.”
Hwang’s contract ends in a month. What does coach Ahn Ik-soo have in mind?
“I think the first thing is to respect the player’s opinion,” said Ahn Ik-soo, who met with Gangwon FC before their Round 15 clash at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on the 28th. I am a footballer before I am a coach. Every footballer dreams of going to a big club. You have to respect that,” he said.
“Of course, there are expectations (to stay), but you have to respect what you respect and see what happens afterwards,” he added.
The league is in full swing. Ahn doesn’t want to put too much pressure on his players, who should be focusing on the game.
“In some ways, it can be a burden on the players, it can take away their happiness in the day,” Ahn said. For now, I think I’m in a position to serve them faithfully in the process of showing the fans entertaining football.”
As for Hwang’s thoughts, he says: “Time seems to be flying by. I don’t know yet. The first goal is for Seoul to be a team that can compete at a really high level,” he cautions.
Where will Hwang Ui-jo be playing in a month’s time?