“I like to call Heungmin ‘the older brother I know’.”

‘Supernova’ Bae Jun-ho (21-Stoke City) smiles. Bae left Daejeon Hana Citizens last summer to join Stoke City in the English Championship (second division). There was no adjustment period. In 38 games, he scored two goals and provided five assists. He was voted “Player of the Year” by Stoke City fans. They even created a chant called “King of Korea”. In his first year in Europe, the Gyumjeon player has produced remarkable results. “I was lucky, I had a short adaptation period, and I think I played well,” he told Sports Chosun recently. “When I hear the fans’ chants, I feel thrilled and excited. In fact, when I first heard it, I didn’t even realize it was my cheer, but then I understood and realized it was Bae Jun-ho. It definitely has a good effect on my performance because the fans give me strength,” he said.

In fact, there were many concerns. Above all, Stoke City had a strong image of being a ‘man’s team’ that prioritized strength over skill. “I was familiar with that image,” says Bae. When I got there, it was very different from what I thought, but when I actually played, it was tactically organized,” he said. He was confident in his abilities: “When I actually played, I realized that I would win one-on-one,” he said.

In the end, it was all about how to fill in the blanks.

First, he changed his personality. “I’m naturally an introvert. It was hard when I first went to the K League, but this is Europe, and I’m a foreigner. I had to adapt somehow. I approached the players first,” he says. 스포츠토토 He also paid attention to his English. “My brothers told me to study the language, but I regret that I didn’t,” he said. When I got here, I realized that English is really important. Even the director is from Liverpool. I have two tutors a day, a British teacher and a Korean teacher. I still have trouble speaking, but my listening has improved a lot.”

Physically, they also put in a lot of work. “The Championship is not an easy league. It’s a physically strong league, and at first, I felt like I was hitting a wall when I fought. I improved during training. It worked for me to raise my physicality while maintaining my strengths,” he said. He also changed his style. “Selflessness is my strength, but I felt it could be a weakness if it’s too much. Of course, I didn’t score many offensive points, but I tried,” he said.

His hard work quickly paid off. His coach and teammates recognized his skills and started playing around him. His confidence grew, and he showed off his skills to the fullest. “As I gained more faith, my teammates played better, and I played the way I wanted to play,” he says. “The coach saw what I was good at and let me play freely. Towards the second half, I enjoyed it,” he laughed.

“In Korea, I would go to cafes with my friends, but here, I’m alone. I train, tutor English, eat, and the day goes by. It doesn’t matter because I’m doing what I love,” he said. What he cares about most is eating. “Luckily, I don’t have any food restrictions. But I like Korean food, so I cook it myself. I’m living the life of a housewife with my own groceries. If I go back this time, I plan to bring a lot of Korean sauces with me.” Of course, he also plans to watch K League games, especially Daejeon. “Daejeon is having a tough time right now, but it will definitely go up,” Bae said, “I will definitely go to Daejeon when I return to Korea.”

Playing in England has given him a newfound appreciation for Son Heung-min.

“I often watch English Premier League games with my teammates. We talk about Heung-min a lot. When a video of Tottenham’s game comes on, my teammates say, ‘You should try to do what Son did.’” ”I haven’t met him yet. I’d like to pretend to be close to him in front of the players and say, ‘I know him,’ but I haven’t had the chance yet,” he smiled. The fastest way to meet Son Heung-min is to make the A team. “My goal is the A team,” he said. I’m working hard while looking at that. If I continue to do well, I will have a chance.”

After a year in Europe, Bae has grown physically and mentally, which makes him even more excited for next season. 안전놀이터 He will return to England at the end of June to begin pre-season. “It was a season where I learned a lot and grew a lot, so I’m looking higher. My goal for next season is 10 goals. I want to play a lot of good games and eventually play in the big leagues. I don’t know when that will happen, but I will work harder for that day.”

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