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Klinsmann includes detained midfielder Son in South Korea squad



South Korean national soccer team's new head coach Juergen Klinsmann speaks upon his arrival at Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, March 8, 2023. REUTERS/Kim Soo-hyeon/File Photo

South Korea coach Juergen Klinsmann has included Son Jun-ho in his squad for this month’s friendly matches against Peru and El Salvador despite the midfielder’s ongoing detention in China in connection with a bribery case in Liaoning province.

Son, who plays his club football for Chinese Super League side Shandong Taishan, was listed in the 23-man squad for the games, which will see the Koreans face Peru in Busan on June 16 before playing El Salvador four days later in Daejon.

“Obviously we are all shocked of the situation of Jun-ho and he has our total support,” Klinsmann told a press conference in Seoul on Monday.

“We hope every day something happens but it’s not in our hands.

“I know the (Korea Football Association) and our people went to China and we will try to get him out of there and try to get him home. But it’s not in our hands.


“He’s on that list in case something happens, he’s right with us. We’re looking after him, he’s getting our support. We don’t know his state of mind, we don’t know what physical state he is but I think he deserves all the support from us.

“He’s been outstanding in the two games against Colombia and against Uruguay and we miss him. We really hope and we pray that he can get him released.”

China’s foreign ministry previously said Son, who featured three times at the World Cup in Qatar last year, is suspected of taking bribes from non-state workers and has been detained by the public security department in Liaoning province.

He was selected by Klinsmann for the German’s first two games in charge of the national team in March, when the Koreans drew 2-2 with Colombia before losing 2-1 against Uruguay, and has played 20 times for South Korea.



Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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