After struggling with injuries, Hwang Hee-chan is spreading his wings. He is also determined to maintain his current momentum by taking care of his body.
Wolverhampton announced on the club’s website on October 14 (KST), “Hwang Hee-chan has been named Player of the Month for October. He scored an attacking point in all three games in October and becomes the third player of the month this season (Sasha Kalajic, Pedro Neto and Hwang),” the club announced.
“First, Hwang scored the opening goal against Aston Villa (October 8, Round 8). Against Bournemouth (October 21, Round 9), he provided an assist. He scored again against Newcastle United (October 29, Round 10). Hwang was named Player of the Month, beating out Craig Dawson and Netou,” said Hwang after his impressive month.
Hwang has really taken off. Before highlighting Hwang’s performance in October, it’s worth recapping his time at Wolverhampton. After falling out of favor at Leipzig, Hwang joined Wolverhampton on loan to try his hand at the Premier League (PL), where he impressed Bruno Raz with his goalscoring prowess. He completed an early transfer and promised more, but injuries hampered his progress.
He was suffering from a hamstring injury, which led to a decline in his performance. His scoring output also dropped noticeably. The bad trend continued in the 2022-23 season. Under Raz, he didn’t get many chances and suffered a series of hamstring injuries. The arrival of Julen Lopetegui brought a change of scenery and an upturn in fortunes after the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, but injuries plagued him again.
After scoring three goals in 27 PL appearances last season, Hwang looked to turn things around, but the change of manager was abrupt. After a falling out with the board, Lopetegui left and Gary O’Neill took over. There was some speculation that this could have a negative impact on Hwang, but O’Neill used him in an attacking triangle with Mateusz Cunha and Neto.
Once he was trusted, Hwang showed his goal-scoring prowess. He scored his first goal of the season against Brighton and followed it up with goals against Crystal Palace and Liverpool. He also tasted goal in the English Football League Cup (EFL Cup) against Ipswich Town, continuing his jinx of not scoring in a game. Then, he scored the winning goal against Manchester City, and he tasted victory. He followed that up with a valuable goal against Aston Villa to give Wolverhampton another point. In the 2-1 win over Bournemouth, he was instrumental in the victory with an assist. He even drew a sending off to give his side a numerical advantage.
Hwang Hee-chan, who also started against Newcastle United, conceded a penalty kick (PK) but converted to break the deadlock. In the 26th minute, Wolverhampton attacked after a free kick. Gomes broke from the flank into the center of the box and crossed. After breaking the line, Hwang calmly collected the ball and fired a shot into the near post for the equalizer.
He became the first Wolverhampton player to score in six consecutive home games since the club’s inception. The BBC said: “He beat Pope with a clever move and then scored. Five of his six goals this season have come at home and no player has scored more goals at home this season.” Karen Carney of Sky Sports in the UK called Hwang’s goal “world-class”. “He’s a player who’s willing to do anything,” she said, “and his dribbling, especially from distance, is excellent. He is the reason why he is at Wolverhampton. He creates magical moments. If you look at the goal, Dan Byrne slid in and he knew he was going to make the tackle, he set the pace and it was world class.”
O’Neill added: “I didn’t do anything to Hwang, he just worked hard. He deserves to be recognized for his hard work. He’s dedicated to his work and works hard. He knows how important hard work is and how much he needs to improve. He is getting fitter and fitter,” said Hwang.
Six goals already. That puts him behind Elling Holland (13 goals), Mohamed Salah (10), Son Heung-min, Jerrod Bowen (8+), and Callum Wilson (7). His rivalry with Son Heung-min has drawn attention, but Hwang Hee-chan said in an October national team call-up interview, “Heung-min against my brother? (Laughs) I don’t think Heung-min is competing with my brother. I’m proud that there are two Korean players in the world’s top league. I always watch Heung-min play and see him set records. I don’t think it’s a competition, but if Heung-min does his job, I think he can be a source of strength for his brother. I know I have a lot of games left to play as a Korean, but I know I can do better in the future, so I will continue to show my good form.”
Hwang’s performance helped Wolverhampton bounce back. With Neto out injured, Hwang’s importance is even greater. He was recognized for his performance by being named Wolverhampton’s October Player of the Month. Already at a career high since joining Wolverhampton, Hwang is aiming for a career high in his professional career. His 12 league goals for Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga in 2016-17 are the most he has ever scored in a single season.
Hwang is full of determination. In an interview on the 13th, he said, “I’ve gone through a lot of trial and error in my professional life. There were many 토토사이트 tough moments that helped me improve. This season, I had a good performance while adapting to the team. I hope it continues. I have to be careful not to get injured because I need to be in good shape. My hamstring is not perfectly fine, but I’m trying to make it less worse.” Hwang will be looking to go beyond being Wolverhampton’s October Player of the Month to become one of the more influential strikers in the PL.