Park Hang-seo reveals three over-23 players for SEA Games hinh anh 1A poster of three over 23-year-old Vietnamese players who will compete at the 31st SEA Games in May. (Photo: VFF)
Hanoi (VNS/VNA) - Coach Park Hang-seo has announced the names of three over 23-year-old players who will be in Vietnam’s line-up to compete at the upcoming 31st Southeast Asian Games.

The Korean coach picked midfield duo Do Hung Dung and Nguyen Hoang Duc and striker Nguyen Tien Linh for the campaign to defend the title this May. All were members of the Vietnam team that won a gold medal at the last SEA Games in 2019.

Dung is currently the national senior team captain. The 28-year-old has just returned to action after several months out due to a leg injury, but his performance has persuaded his coaches at Hanoi FC as well as Park and his assistants.

Duc, 24, has been a key player for Vietnam in recent years and tournaments. He has just won the Golden Ball for the best player of the 2021 season.

Linh, 24, is a sharp forward. At the recent 2022 World Cup qualifying rounds, he netted eight goals, outscoring  Korean Son Heung-min (seven goals), Argentinean Lionel Messi (seven goals) and Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo (six goals).

Park’s decision to leave one of his key midfielders Nguyen Quang Hai at home goes against the widespread expectations of the last few days.

Talented star Hai will end his contract with Hanoi FC on April 12 and sign a contract with a foreign club. He might not return to serve Vietnam at SEA Games 31 because the club has the right to keep its players.

“Selecting three over-23 players is an important step for an official tournament. Then, I need a little more time for a careful decision,” said Park, who made his draft list of players on April 5.

“I discussed things with my assistant before making the decision. We pick players based on tactics, and I think the current team is the best.”

Dung, Duc and Linh will join their younger teammates on April 14 before the team moves to Phu Tho province for training a day later.

As the hosts, Vietnam will have more time to practise at Viet Tri Stadium, the competition venue for Group A.

They will have two friendly matches here before the SEA Games.

The football tournament kicks off on May 6 when Vietnam plays Indonesia. Their other matches are against the Philippines, Myanmar and East Timor.

The gold-medal game will take place on May 22./.