South Korea's Seol an Asian Cup doubt after surgery

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SEOUL, May 22 (Reuters) South Korea forward Seol Ki-hyeon underwent ankle surgery today, which will sideline him for next month's friendly against the Netherlands and could see him miss this summer's Asian Cup.

Seol struggled with continuous pain in his ankle throughout the season at English Premier League club Reading and had been waiting for the right time to get the surgery.

''Seol successfully received surgery for his right ankle in London today,'' Ryu Taek-hyung of Seol's agency GSEN INC told Reuters by telephone.

''However, we can't tell as of now whether he will be able to play in the Asian Cup.'' Ryu added that it will take six to eight weeks for Seol to recover.

Seol joins a growing casualty list of South Korean players in the English Premier League.

Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-sung was flown to the United States in April to have knee surgery, while Tottenham Hotspur defender Lee Young-pyo also had surgery last month after sustaining knee ligament damage in a UEFA Cup tie.

Both players are unlikely to recover in time for the Asian Cup in July, though Lee has said he may return in time.

South Korea are in Group D with Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain for the July 7-29 tournament. Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam are co-hosting the competition.

South Korea will play the Netherlands at Seoul World Cup Stadium on June 2 and continue their preparations for the Asian Cup with a game against Iraq on the southern resort island of Jeju on June 29.

They wind up preparations with a friendly against Uzbekistan in early July in Seoul.


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