Seoul: South Korea coach Uli Stielike will take passion and hunger over experience when he picks his final squad for the Jan. 9-31 Asian Cup, the German said on Wednesday.
Stielike, who has coached the team to two wins and two losses since taking charge in September, has selected 28 players based in Korea, Japan and China for an upcoming training camp but said others could still force their way into his thinking.
The German will also have about a dozen Europe-based players, including Bayer Leverkusen`s Son Heung-min and Swansea`s Ki Sung-yueng, available for the continental tournament, which South Korea have not won since 1960.
"We need players who are hungry," Stielike said at a news conference on Wednesday. "If a player has passion and desire we will have no choice but to pick him regardless of their experience or age."
South Korea, who are in Group A alongside hosts Australia, Oman and Kuwait in the opening round, are looking to regain some pride after a woeful World Cup campaign in Brazil, where they failed to win a game and were eliminated in the group stage.
A lack of a cutting edge up front has long been a problem for the Koreans and there was no place in the training camp party for veteran striker Lee Dong-guk or towering Ulsan hitman Kim Shin-wook, who are both struggling with injuries.
The 35-year-old Lee was voted K-League MVP this season after finishing second in league scoring with a 13-goal haul that helped Jeonbuk win the title.
Stielike said he would continue to monitor players and that he could make some unexpected selections for the final squad, which he is set to announce after the training camp ends on Dec. 21.
"The door to the national team is always open to players who are in top condition and have been playing in their league," Yonhap news quoted him as saying.