Can South Korea international striker Hwang Eui-jo (31-Nottingham) find the back of the net for a major-stage club in the top four of the European Football Association (UEFA) rankings after 1445 days (3 years, 11 months, 15 days)?
English Premier League (EPL) side Nottingham will host Spanish La Liga side Valencia in an away friendly on Sept. 19, starting at 2 p.m. ET. The EPL is ranked first in Europe and La Liga is second.
This will be Hwang’s first game with a big league team since a home trial against Genoa in the Italian Serie A in August 2019 while with Bordeaux (France). He scored the game-winning goal in the 36th minute of the first half after being down 0-2.
Serie A is one of Europe’s four major leagues, along with the EPL, La Liga, and the German Bundesliga. Hwang played on loan for Olympiakos (Greece) in their 2022-23 UEFA Europa League group stage home-and-home with Freiburg (Germany), but did not score.
Nottingham kicked off their preparations for the 2023-24 season with a home friendly against Notts County of the English fourth tier on Friday. Hwang Ui-jo scored the opening goal in a 1-0 win.
Nottingham head coach Steve Cooper (44-Wales) said: “He took his chance well and scored the goal. He was active and had a good shot on goal.” It’s a favorable review that could boost Hwang’s chances against Valencia.
Cooper noted that “due to the nature of the trial (of rotating players extensively), all of Nottingham’s strikers didn’t get many chances as the team was mixed and matched,” but he also noted that “Hwang had a good shot (despite this).”
Hwang joined Nottingham from Bordeaux last summer for a fee of €4 million ($5.7 billion). However, he was loaned out to Olympiacos from August 2022-January 2023 and to K League One FC Seoul from February to June 2023.
Cooper said: “He scores goals, which is the ideal (form) every coach wants in a player. I can see that he is a striker who can turn his frequent movements into good goal attempts. We’ll see,” Cooper said, adding that he will keep an eye on Hwang during the preseason.
Hwang scored 29 goals and added seven assists in 92 games for Bordeaux from 2019-2022, breaking FC Seoul senior Park Joo-young’s record for most goals by a Korean in French Ligue 1 (25).
France dropped to sixth place in the 2023-24 European rankings, but was ranked fifth at the time of Hwang’s performance. Hwang could have made it to the EPL, which is why Nottingham took him. 먹튀검증
Nottingham have a series of friendlies against Eintracht Frankfurt (24th in the European Club Rankings), PSV (41st in the Netherlands), and Rennes (47th in France). If Hwang gets a chance to play and score against the big boys, his chances of making his 2023-24 EPL debut will increase.