Yun Il-Lok: FC Seoul’s tricky and gritty young talisman

FC Seoul’s 23 year-old winger seems like he has been around for ages, having broken into the Gyeongnam FC team back in 2011. He made twenty-one appearances in that first season and impressed enough that after his second season at Gyeongnam he moved to FC Seoul in 2013. In that year he made his international debut at the East Asian Football Championship on home soil.

Yun scored Korea’s only goal of the tournament, a terrific strike to equalise against Japan at the Jamsil Olympic Stadium. Japan went on to win that match 2-1 with a last minute goal, and with it the tournament.

Unfortunately for Yun Il-Lok, his position on the left-hand side of South Korea’s trio of attacking midfielders is currently taken by South Korea’s star player Son Heung-Min, so although Yun Il-Lok can play anywhere in the attacking midfield set-up, he has so far been limited to eight appearances for the national side. He also played in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon where he picked up a gold medal.

Since 2013 he has played for FC Seoul, making over sixty appearances for the club. In his first season he only managed two goals domestically but hit the net four times as FC Seoul reached the Asian Champion’s League final where they lost on away goals to Guangzhou Evergrande.

Last season, he started to increase his goal tally, hitting the net seven times in twenty-seven appearances, including a double against the K-League champions Jeonbuk, the first of which was a lovely shot in from twenty yards out into the bottom corner. This season his only goal has come in a seven-nil thrashing of Hanoi T&T in the ACL Playoffs.

Yun, like many other Korean attacking midfielders, likes to take lots of shots from distance, and although this can lead to some spectacular goals, it also produces many wasteful misses. Another aspect of Yun Il-Lok’s game is his agility and fast footwork, which often allows him to get a shot or cross away even when there is a crowded defence ahead of him.

FC Seoul have started this season poorly, losing their opening three games, and still stuck at the wrong end of the table, but as their form picks up, we will start to see more of the impressive performances that caused Yun Il-Lok to break into the national side.


Written by Steven Price

Check out more of his work on everything South Korean football at the excellent K-League Footy

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