Newcastle midfielder Ki Sung-yueng has announced his retirement from International football and will now concentrate on his Newcastle career.
Ki turned 30 last month and played 110 times for South Korea with 10 goals and was the captain in last year’s World Cup in Russia.
His final game for Newcastle before going off to the Asian Cup was on December 22 in the 0-0 draw with Fulham – 2 points dropped by Newcastle.
At the time he said when he got back he didn’t know if there would be a place in the side for him.
And Sean Longstaff has filled in brilliantly for the South Korean, and we expect the local lad to start against Huddersfield Town on Saturday afternoon.
Ki Sung-yueng – expected to be on the bench on Saturday
South Korea had a disappointing Asian Cup and were beaten by eventual winners Qatar in the quarterfinals.
Here’s what Ki has said in the Chronicle today:
“It’s time for me to concentrate on Newcastle,””I have played a lot of games for Korea and travelled back and forth for 10 years or so.”
“That is difficult, such as this time. You are playing well in the team and have to leave. By the time you come back, someone else has your place.”
“That has happened a lot of times in my career because of the national team.” “It’s normal, the PL is so competitive, but that’s life.”
“But playing for my country is also an honor. I had to decide what my focus would be on now. I have done a lot for the national team.”
“I have seen Longstaff in training, I knew he had quality. We have very good competition now.”
“For me, I have to wait for my chance again. First of all, I need to be as fit as before. I need to do extra training.”
“I had to do this in the first period of the season, wait and work hard.”
“I picked up a hamstring injury in the first game of the Asian Cup.”
“It wasn’t a bad injury, it should have taken 10 to 12 days. Then, I came back to training, and I did it again.”
“I was very frustrated because it was my last competition for my country.”
“I realised that, even if we reached the final, I couldn’t play, so I decided to come back to Newcastle.”
“It feels like quite a long time now.” “There is no pain now, I’m fully recovered, just not yet at the level I was at before.”
Sean Longstaff and Isaac Hayden have played well together over the last eight games or so and they are expected to start on Saturday.
The game against Huddersfield is a relegation 6 pointer.
That means the difference in points between the two club depending on whether Newcastle win compared to Huddersfield winning is a full 6 points.