Park Chu-young left out of national team
By Jung Min-ho
Arsenal forward Park Chu-young was left out of national football team manager Choi Kang-hee’s 23-man squad on Thursday. He will not feature in the upcoming friendly against Spain and at least the first two matches in the final round of Asian qualifying for the Brazil 2014 World Cup.
The Taeguk Warriors will face No. 1 ranked Spain on May 31 in Switzerland, before travelling to Qatar on June 8, followed by a home match against Lebanon four days later.
Choi, 53, took the bold step of excluding Park after he had made several attempts to persuade the Premier League player to join the team on the condition he explains the postponement of his military service to the public. However, Park has kept silent on the issue, implying that he is not willing to do so.
“I was waiting for his call until midnight yesterday, but I didn’t receive any word from him. I was considering if he could join the roster,” Choi said after the announcement. “I excluded him because of controversy over his performance and military duty. Although players’ performance matters, it is also important to have pride and be willing to make a sacrifice once they join the team.”
Before the decision was revealed, whether to put Park on the list drew publicity regarding the fact he was given a 10-year residence permit from Monaco in March, which enables him to delay his compulsory national service for a decade.
Choi said that the issue is the primary reason for leaving 26-year-old off the list this time but said he could be picked down the road.
“Many have misunderstood the situation since Park hasn’t made an official comment or announcement. He has to clarify his stance,” the manager said. “However, there will be changes later, the door is always open.”
Spain announced their squad for the game on Wednesday. Although some core members such as Barcelona’s Xavier Hernandez and Andres Iniesta will not appear ahead of their club’s Copa Del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao on May 25, Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos and Iker Casillas as well as Manchester City’s David Silva are expected to play.