South Korea preliminary World Cup squad includes Lee Seung-woo, Son Heung-min
Former Barcelona wonderkid Lee Seung-woo was a surprise inclusion in South Korea's preliminary 28-man squad for the 2018 World Cup named in Seoul on Monday.
The 20 year-old forward has yet to make his senior international debut and left the Spanish champion in August 2017 to join Hellas Verona in Italy, scoring his first Serie A goal earlier in May.
South Korea will face Sweden, Mexico and Germany in Group F.
"Lee is an agile and fast player who can cause problems and get behind opposing defences," coach Shin Tae-yong told a press conference at Korea FA headquarters in Seoul.
"I know that he has not had a lot of opportunities to play for his club but he has grown as a player and a person," added Shin who said that he will name his final 23-man squad on June 3, a day before the final deadline.
Other debutants are defender Oh-Ban-suk of Jeju United and Incheon United midfielder Moon Seon-min.
English Premier League stars Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur, Swansea City's Ki Sung-yueng and Lee Chung-yong of Crystal Palace also made the list.
The selection of Lee was not guaranteed as the winger has played just a handful of games for the South London club.
"Lee is a player with merit," said Shin. "He has experience of playing at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups and has excellent individual skill."
Injuries meant that coach Shin was unable to select Jeonbuk Motors defender Kim Min-jae and veteran Suwon Bluewings winger Yeom Ki-hun.
Korea, who will start training at Paju on May 21, warm up for Russia with games against Honduras and Bosnia-Herzegovina on home soil on May 28 and June 1 respectively.
The 2002 semifinalist then heads to an Austrian training camp for two more tests against Bolivia and Senegal.
Goalkeepers: Kim Seung-gyu (Vissel Kobe, Japan), Kim Jin-hyeon (Cerezo Osaka, Japan), Cho Hyun-woo (Daegu FC)
Defenders: Kim young-gwon (Guangzhou Evergrande, China), Jang Hyun-soo (FC Tokyo, Japan), Jung Seung-hyun (Sagan Tosu, Japan), Yun Yong-sun (Seongnam FC), Kwon Kyung-won (Tianjin Quanjian, China), Oh Ban-suk (Jeju United), Kim Jin-su (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors), Kim Min-woo (Sangju Sangmu), Park Joo-ho (Ulsan Hyundai), Hong Chul (Sangju Sangmu), Go Yo-han (FC Seoul), Lee Yong (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors)
Midfielders: Ki Sung-yueng (Swansea City, England), Jung Woo-young (Vissel Kobe, Japan), Kwon Chang-hoon (Dijon FCO, France), Ju Se-jong (Asan Mugunghwa FC), Koo Ja-cheol (FC Augsburg, Germany), Lee Jae-sung (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors), Lee Seung-woo (Hellas Verona, Italy), Moon Seon-min (Incheon United), Lee Chung-yong (Crystal Palace, England)
Forwards: Kim Shin-wook (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors), Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur, England), Hwang Hee-chan (FC Red Bull Salzburg, Austria), Lee Keun-ho (Gangwon FC)
Asian expert John Duerden is the author of Lions and Tigers: Story of Football in Singapore and Malaysia.Twitter: @JohnnyDuerden.