30-year-old Ki Sung-yueng retired from International football after the Asian Cup in January.
He had played for South Korea for a full 10 years with 110 caps and 10 goals, but his exit from the International scene was via a hamstring injury.
He picked up the injury in the United Arab Emirates in the first game he played.
And initially it was thought to be very slight, but then he was sent back to Newcastle when the South Korean medics realized he couldn’t play again in the tournament.
That was another case of a Newcastle player returning injured from International duty, so we hope that doesn’t happen during the current two-week International break.
Ki Sung-yueng – retired from International football
Ki has talked about his decision to retire from International football in the Chronicle today:
“It was a difficult decision because I’ve been playing for 10 years for my country.”
I decided because this is the time I have to give my position to younger players,”
“For me, it’s very difficult to travel all the way to Korea, then play there and come back.”
“I can’t focus 100% either on the national team or Newcastle.”
“Of course, it was a difficult time for me, but I had to decide for myself and then the country.”
It’s not going to be easy for Ki to regain his starting position at Newcastle.
After he started and played 79 minutes in the excellent 3-2 win at home to Everton, he didn’t make the 18 man squad for the trip to Bournemouth last Saturday where we drew 2-2.
Ki has played 13 times for Newcastle this season with 11 starts.
We now have former starters Ki, Shelvey, and Diame all pushing to play alongside the much improved Isaac Hayden in the final 7 games of the season.
So we look to be in good shape in central midfield – especially since we also have young Sean Longstaff – currently out injured at the moment.
Newcastle are also in good shape in central defense with Lascelles, Lejeune, Schar, Fernandez, and Clark all pushing for a starting position.
Rafa wanted more competition in the team, and he’s got it in those two areas of the field.
Ki has only one year left on his contract this summer, so we assume he will be pushing to stay at Newcastle past next summer.
What do you think?