Yang Hyun-joon (left) and Oh Hyun-gyu were called up to the national team last November ahead of the World Cup in Qatar. Courtesy of the Korea Football Association

“I’ve been in contact with (Oh) a lot. We even talked about being the main players in the next World Cup (laughs).”

We spoke with Yang Hyun-joon (21, Gangwon) before the season. We talked about the World Cup as it was still fresh from the round of 16 in Qatar. With eight goals and four assists in the K League last year, Yang swept the K League Young Player Award and the Korea Football Association Young Player Award, and was called up to the A team for the first time in September. There were high hopes that he could experience the World Cup as the “future” of Korean soccer, but he didn’t make the final 26. There was a nod to Oh Hyun-gyu (22-Celtic) when Yang Hyun-joon mentioned him and said they were in frequent contact.

Oh was also not included in the 26-man roster for the World Cup, but his situation was better than Yang’s. After scoring 13 goals in 36 regular season games as Suwon’s main striker last season, Oh scored the game-winner in the second leg of the promotion playoff against Anyang to save Suwon from relegation. His burgeoning form and destructiveness in the penalty box caught the eye of coach Paulo Bento. Oh scored a goal against Iceland in an exhibition match just before departure for the World Cup in Qatar, and he boarded the plane to Qatar as the 27th Taegeuk Warrior. Aside from not being able to be on the field with the team on game day, Oh was able to train with the team in Qatar.

For Yang, he was excited and envious that his “big brother,” Hyun-gyu, was in Qatar, having trained with the U-23 and A national teams. Oh Hyun-gyu, who sometimes felt marginalized due to his lack of ‘official national team’ status, also needed someone to talk to. The two youngsters, whose interests were aligned and who were called the future of the K League, had many conversations and came to the conclusion that ‘we are next!

The possibility of their ‘Qatar Resolution’ coming to fruition has increased. “We have decided to transfer Yang Hyun-joon to Celtic,” Kangwon announced on a YouTube broadcast on the 15th. Kangwon CEO Kim Byung-ji made the announcement in person and was shown signing the contract as CEO. Yang Hyun-joon, who also appeared on the show, said, “My heart is heavy because the team is in a difficult time, but I’m also excited and happy. I promise to be a player who repays the support.”

Oh has settled in nicely since joining Celtic in January this year, scoring seven goals in 21 official games. Photo via Celtic Twitter

Yang’s new club, Celtic, is a team that Oh had already established himself with half a year earlier. He joined Celtic in January, in the middle of the 2022-2023 season, and scored seven goals in 21 appearances, helping Celtic win the treble. For Yang, having Oh on the team shortened the time he had to adjust to his new team, and for Oh, it gave him an ally to talk to after Qatar. They have a history of making resolutions at the World Cup, so they can encourage each other and grow together.

Having lifted more trophies in the Scottish Premiership than Rangers (55), Celtic (53) is a team that often gets the “if you don’t win it, you’ve failed” label. But that doesn’t mean they don’t invest in player development. Last season, Oh Hyun-kyu was given a lot of chances as a substitute as the Hoops cruised to the league title and became one of the league’s ‘go-to’ players. Heading into his second season with Celtic, Oh has already scored a goal in a preseason match against Portimonense (Portugal) on Sept. 16, setting the stage for a promising new campaign.

While Asian players in Europe often face racism on and off the field, Celtic have no prejudice against Asian players. At one point, Ki Sung-yueng (34-Seoul) and Cha Doo-ri (43) played together at Celtic. When former manager Enze Postecoglou (58-current Tottenham manager) was in charge of the Yokohama Marinos in Japan’s J-League, the club was often referred to as a “Japanese club”. Last season, Celtic had a total of five Japanese players on the roster. Kyogo Furuhashi, 28, who donned the Celtic jersey in 2021, scored a total of 27 goals last season and went on to win the league’s top scorer and most valuable player (MVP) awards.

The Hoops, who once had their sights set on Japan, are also keen on Korean players following the signing of Oh Hyun-gyu. The Hoops are not about to end their pursuit of Korean players this summer with Yang Hyun-joon. Kwon Hyuk-kyu (22), a 6-foot-2 midfielder who plays for Busan in the K League 2, is also a major target for Celtic. Kwon played alongside Oh Hyun-gyu and Yang Hyun-joon at the U-23 level, so it’s not hard to see the synergy between the three.

After waiting for the next big thing on the sidelines of the World Cup, 카지노사이트 their resolve is now in full swing.

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