Jurgen Klinsmann opens up on chats with Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers over his South Korean trio as manager reveals ‘risk’

ANGE POSTECOGLOU started it all with the signing of Oh Hyeon-gyu. Now Jurgen Klinsmann is convinced the striker and his fellow South Koreans Yang Hyun-jun and Kwon Hyeok-kyu are going to thrive working with Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers. Kenny RamsayAnge Postecoglou signed Oh in January[/caption] Kenny RamsayKwon and Yang joined the striker at Parkhead this summer[/caption] He reckons the trio can go to another level for the Hoops — and he will reap the rewards as South Korea boss. Klinsmann jetted into Glasgow for Sunday’s Old Firm derby at Ibrox — and invited SunSport for an exclusive interview to get an insight into his vision for the trio. The German legend, a magnificent World Cup-winning striker in his prime for Inter Milan, Monaco, Spurs, Bayern Munich and Germany, is thrilled the Hoops have provided each of them a ‘massive’ opportunity to develop as people and players. It was Postecoglou who signed Oh, 22, from Suwon Samsung Bluewings back in January. Parkhead successor Rodgers then took Yang, 21, and Kwon, 22, to Parkhead in the close season from Gangwon and Busan I-Park respectively. The duo cost £3million combined — and Klinsmann has every faith that money will soon look like a bargain. The 59-year-old said: “For the Korean national team programme it is huge having players trying to ply their trade in Europe. “For them to have an opportunity to play for a massive club like Celtic, it lifts the whole programme. Obviously, when they leave at a very young age, like Yang and Kwon have, then there is a risk. “I had a similar type situation with the American team. I coached the US squad for six years and you have to encourage them to try it out. “If it works, fantastic. It will transform their life and their careers. “But if it doesn’t work then I still don’t think that it’s a problem. “You can always go back and play in your domestic league where you came through the system. “But just to step out of your comfort zone and try it — that’s the big thing. “And I am delighted there are three very good prospects at Celtic working for a top manager such as Brendan Rodgers. “The biggest issue for young footballers in Korea to deal with is the need for military service. “They have to do it before the age of 27, unless they win their competition, the Asian Games, under the Olympic committee, which is happening at the end of September until October. Or, alternatively, they could win an Olympic medal. “It’s the only way they can get exemption from military service. It doesn’t matter who you play for — Celtic, Tottenham, Real Madrid, whoever — unless you achieve those two things then you have to return to Korea before the age of 27 and fulfil your military duties. “Oh has done it. He was very smart. He went right out of high school at 18 and he did his service then. “With Yang and Kwon, I’m not sure about their situations. “Nonetheless, for the players to step out of their comfort zone and realise they have an opportunity to play in Europe, it’s huge. For me they have to jump on it. “From an international perspective, you need your best players in Europe in order to succeed later on in a World Cup. I have high hopes for Oh, Yang and Kwon at Celtic. I believe they have the potential to become very good players. “First it was Ange at Celtic with Oh and now it is Brendan, both excellent managers.” Klinsmann is also realistic about how tough it will be for the trio. He said: “The competition at Celtic is huge. “For Oh, for any of the three boys at Celtic to get minutes, it’s very difficult. “If you don’t get the minutes, you don’t build the stamina, the consistency and then the longer it goes it also becomes an issue of confidence. That is normal. “Then you put on top of that the layer that you’re over 8,000 miles away from home. You have to learn the language, a new culture, find a home and new friends. It’s a big, big undertaking for any of those three Korean boys to play here and trying to make the break through at Celtic. “It definitely helps a great deal that they’re together at the club. “The biggest risk for these boys is to be lonely. “It’s a psychological risk for a lot of young players going abroad and becoming lonely. “Especially now with the Korean language and the English language, it will be very difficult for them. “It’s why some of them bring their siblings over, some of them bring maybe mum and dad. That’s OK. They are scared to get lonely. I have spoken with Brendan. I talked three weeks ago about Oh. But he told me about all three and he likes them very much. “He is happy with how they are progressing. “He also said to me that he had a big roster of players at Celtic. I replied, ‘Brendan, I totally understand’. “But I said I was just happy that he was satisfied with the three boys, that they were training well and listening to him. “The Korean mentality is that they are very good listen

Jurgen Klinsmann opens up on chats with Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers over his South Korean trio as manager reveals ‘risk’

ANGE POSTECOGLOU started it all with the signing of Oh Hyeon-gyu.

Now Jurgen Klinsmann is convinced the striker and his fellow South Koreans Yang Hyun-jun and Kwon Hyeok-kyu are going to thrive working with Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers.

Kenny Ramsay
Ange Postecoglou signed Oh in January[/caption]
Kenny Ramsay
Kwon and Yang joined the striker at Parkhead this summer[/caption]

He reckons the trio can go to another level for the Hoops — and he will reap the rewards as South Korea boss.

Klinsmann jetted into Glasgow for Sunday’s Old Firm derby at Ibrox — and invited SunSport for an exclusive interview to get an insight into his vision for the trio.

The German legend, a magnificent World Cup-winning striker in his prime for Inter Milan, Monaco, Spurs, Bayern Munich and Germany, is thrilled the Hoops have provided each of them a ‘massive’ opportunity to develop as people and players.

It was Postecoglou who signed Oh, 22, from Suwon Samsung Bluewings back in January.

Parkhead successor Rodgers then took Yang, 21, and Kwon, 22, to Parkhead in the close season from Gangwon and Busan I-Park respectively.

The duo cost £3million combined — and Klinsmann has every faith that money will soon look like a bargain.

The 59-year-old said: “For the Korean national team programme it is huge having players trying to ply their trade in Europe.

“For them to have an opportunity to play for a massive club like Celtic, it lifts the whole programme. Obviously, when they leave at a very young age, like Yang and Kwon have, then there is a risk.

“I had a similar type situation with the American team. I coached the US squad for six years and you have to encourage them to try it out.

“If it works, fantastic. It will transform their life and their careers.

“But if it doesn’t work then I still don’t think that it’s a problem.

“You can always go back and play in your domestic league where you came through the system.

“But just to step out of your comfort zone and try it — that’s the big thing.

“And I am delighted there are three very good prospects at Celtic working for a top manager such as Brendan Rodgers.

“The biggest issue for young footballers in Korea to deal with is the need for military service.

“They have to do it before the age of 27, unless they win their competition, the Asian Games, under the Olympic committee, which is happening at the end of September until October. Or, alternatively, they could win an Olympic medal.

“It’s the only way they can get exemption from military service. It doesn’t matter who you play for — Celtic, Tottenham, Real Madrid, whoever — unless you achieve those two things then you have to return to Korea before the age of 27 and fulfil your military duties.

“Oh has done it. He was very smart. He went right out of high school at 18 and he did his service then.

“With Yang and Kwon, I’m not sure about their situations.

“Nonetheless, for the players to step out of their comfort zone and realise they have an opportunity to play in Europe, it’s huge. For me they have to jump on it.

“From an international perspective, you need your best players in Europe in order to succeed later on in a World Cup. I have high hopes for Oh, Yang and Kwon at Celtic. I believe they have the potential to become very good players.

“First it was Ange at Celtic with Oh and now it is Brendan, both excellent managers.”

Klinsmann is also realistic about how tough it will be for the trio.

He said: “The competition at Celtic is huge.

“For Oh, for any of the three boys at Celtic to get minutes, it’s very difficult.

“If you don’t get the minutes, you don’t build the stamina, the consistency and then the longer it goes it also becomes an issue of confidence. That is normal.

“Then you put on top of that the layer that you’re over 8,000 miles away from home. You have to learn the language, a new culture, find a home and new friends. It’s a big, big undertaking for any of those three Korean boys to play here and trying to make the break through at Celtic.

“It definitely helps a great deal that they’re together at the club.

“The biggest risk for these boys is to be lonely.

“It’s a psychological risk for a lot of young players going abroad and becoming lonely.

“Especially now with the Korean language and the English language, it will be very difficult for them.

“It’s why some of them bring their siblings over, some of them bring maybe mum and dad. That’s OK. They are scared to get lonely. I have spoken with Brendan. I talked three weeks ago about Oh. But he told me about all three and he likes them very much.

“He is happy with how they are progressing.

“He also said to me that he had a big roster of players at Celtic. I replied, ‘Brendan, I totally understand’.

“But I said I was just happy that he was satisfied with the three boys, that they were training well and listening to him.

“The Korean mentality is that they are very good listeners. They are very disciplined.

“I told Brendan he will never have an issue with them about character and about discipline.

“Ange was fantastic with Oh. He and Brendan are great characters and they care about their players. They are both good people-managers.”

Oh is ahead of Yang and Kwon in the pecking order.

He has five full caps and is in the squad for tomorrow’s friendly with Wales in Cardiff and next week’s meeting with Saudi Arabia in Newcastle.

Klinsmann added: “We always text and I know he is happy.

“I tell him, ‘Prove what you can do, do extra work’.

“I tell him it’s a process, it’s not going to happen overnight.”

Klinsmann also revealed Celtic are now a big hit with football fans in South Korea.

He said: “The status of Celtic is huge.

“The fact there are three kids now at the club means there is great interest.”

Klinsmann has included £2.5million Oh in his squad for the friendlies against Wales in Cardiff on Thursday and Saudi Arabia in Newcastle next Tuesday.

The 22-year-old returned to action as a 20-minute substitute in Celtic’s 1-0 victory over Rangers last Sunday after missing four games with a calf injury.

Klinsmann was at Ibrox with assistant Andreas Herzog and the German World Cup winner told SunSport: “Oh has the talent to become an international player.

“He has got the technical and physical qualities to become a regular in time. But what he needs now are minutes, many more minutes, and then consistency.

“Oh has a lot of elements. I was really impressed when I first started watching him.

“The system in Korea educates them as a striker in all different facets — left foot, right foot, headers, link up.

“So when you have a complete picture of a player like Oh, or any centre-forward, I think the process he has to go through is about building consistency and more minutes. But especially building the mental strength to consistently score. To believe in yourself, that if you get two chances you at least put one in.”

Oh has made just three league starts since his arrival from Suwon Samsung Bluewings last January, and has scored seven goals in his 22 Hoops appearances.

Ex-Inter Milan, Spurs and Bayern Munich idol Klinsmann is convinced he knows what can take him to another level.

He added: “You might be out of breath, miss three out of three, so it’s a real complex process he has to go through.

“But Oh knows the fitter he is, the calmer he is, and the more confident he’ll be to put the ball in the net.

“He has such a good energy that he sometimes burns it too fast.

“I said to him, ‘You have to build the energy over a longer stretch’.

“Maybe it takes you 30, 40, 50 yards to get to that moment when you shoot, not just 20 yards.

“So you have to build that stamina, so you’re not breathing too hard when you’re in the final moment to execute. That is everything for a striker, to ultimately finish.

“If you execute everything within 15 or 20 yards because it’s a short moment, that’s one thing.

“But you need to be complete. To be able to go from the halfway line, between two defenders and just finish it off. So it’s a huge physical and mental learning-curve process for him.”

Klinsmann once played at Celtic Park, for Peter Grant’s testimonial against Bayern Munich in 1997, and admits he is a fan of Scottish football.

He said: “You have two massive clubs in Celtic and Rangers and then a gap to the other teams.

“Would it be better to have the two big ones in the Premier League? You obviously feel that.

“However, I’ve always been a fan of Scottish football because for me it’s straightforward, it’s clean, it’s in your face.

“It’s honest and it’s why I’m thrilled the South Korean boys are here.

“To learn their trade in Scotland, that’s fantastic.”


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