Phạm Văn Cường has just been called up for the national squad ahead of theAFF Cup 2020. — Photo nhandan.vn
HÀ NỘI For the first time, coach Park Hang-seo has called up five goalkeepers to the Vietnamese squad ahead of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020.
They are Bùi Tấn Trường of Hà Nội FC, Nguyễn Văn Hoàng of Sông Lam Nghệ An, Trần Nguyên Mạnh of Viettel, Quan Văn Chuẩn of Phú Thọ, and Phạm Văn Cường of HCM City.
Such a decision to draft in many options between the posts, is a clear sign the South Korean coach is unsure about the number one position.
In the previous six World Cup qualifying matches, Park used three keepers, Nguyễn Văn Lâm, Bùi Tấn Trường and Nguyễn Văn Toản.
All leaked goals in the key games.
In the match against Australia in which Việt Nam lost to Australia 0-1, goalie Lâm was scored 6.30 points by the statistics website sofascore.com.
Given the opportunity to play in the 1-3 loss to Oman, young goalkeeper Toản was awarded 6.00 points by Sofascore. While Trường played four matches and even though he conceded eight goals, he still received a high average score (6.85) compared to his two teammates.
Trường is still considered Park's first choice for the AFF Cup 2020.
Among the rest of the AFF Cup team's goalkeepers, despite having a lot of experience, Mạnh is considered by some to be too short (1.78m), Hoàng has little experience in the big games and, young goalkeeper Chuẩn is thought to be just a back-up.
Trường has also been accused of spending too much time updating his social media pages instead of focussing on preparing for the upcoming tournament.
Coach Park called Cường to the Vietnamese team for the first time in the match against Afghanistan in the third qualifying round of the Asian Cup 2019. He was then included in the Vietnamese team to prepare for the second qualifying round of the 2022 World Cup. At that time, Cường was the No 3 goalkeeper behind Lâm and Tuấn Mạnh.
Some fear Cường may not be the solution, and might not be able to perform at the level expected by Park.
Since joining HCM City in the 2020 football season, Cường hasn't been able to hold down a regular first team place. He played just twice this year, once against Nam Định which they lost at home by three goals to two.
So Park has many decisions to make ahead of the AFF Suzuki Cup, but one things for sure, it will be the goalkeeping position that's keeping him awake at night. Plenty to ponder for the South Korean. VNS