Defender Thanh Chung: Coach Park testing new positions in Vietnam U23 squad

Defender Nguyen Thanh Chung has revealed that coach Park Hang-seo has tested some new positions in the Vietnam U23 squad to prepare for the 2020 AFC U23 Championship, which is about to kick-start in Thailand in the next few days.

Defender Thanh Chung (R) in action during a training session of the Vietnam U23 team. (Photo: Trong Vu)
Defender Thanh Chung (R) in action during a training session of the Vietnam U23 team. (Photo: Trong Vu)

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Sharing with the press before his team’s training session in Ho Chi Minh City on Monday afternoon (Dec 30), Chung said midfielder Nguyen Trong Hung has been trying out in a new position. “In the recent match, Hung played in a different position that went contrary to his strength. He was a bit surprised at first, but will gradually adapt if he continues to be assigned the same task in the next matches,” Chung said as quoted from the local news network Zing.

In the 1-0 win in a friendly against the V.League 1 side Becamex Binh Duong on December 28, Hung played as a right-back. This is a surprising plan, because the Thanh Hoa FC’s midfielder often plays as a left wing forward as in the recently concluded 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in the Philippines.

In the Vietnam U23 squad, Thanh Chung is one of the key players in Park’s defensive playstyle. The 1997-born affirmed that he and his teammates had to play many games in 2019, however, the team are determined to play at their best in the upcoming Thailand-based tournament.

In addition, Chung also shared good news regarding the injuries of his teammates: “Dinh Trong and Thanh Thinh have completely recovered and I think they will all keep up with the high performance at the upcoming AFC U23 Championship. We must try our best to gain the best results.”

The training session yesterday afternoon witnessed the full members of the squad on the field. They focused on duel competitive tactics and ball control. Previously, that morning, the team had light practice at a local gym, instead of going to the Thong Nhat Stadium for training as originally planned.

 Defender Thanh Chung: Coach Park testing new positions in Vietnam U23 squad ảnh 1
 Defender Thanh Chung: Coach Park testing new positions in Vietnam U23 squad ảnh 2

Vietnam U23 players in action during a training session on December 30, 2019. (Photo: Zing)

Vietnam will have two more training sessions in Ho Chi Minh City today before leaving for Thailand on the afternoon of January 1, 2020. Thanh Chung and his teammates will have one more friendly there on January 3, against Bahrain U23s, before officially entering the tournament.

As scheduled, Park’s side will play their first two Group D matches in Buriram, against the United Arab Emirates (January 10) and Jordan (January 13), and will then travel to Bangkok for their last group fixture, against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, on January 16. The reigning runners-up have set the goal of making the last three in the continental championship to book a place in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

However, Vietnam will enter the opening match against UAE U23s without defender Ho Tan Tai as he has been suspended after receiving two yellow cards in the qualifying round last March.