Bae Junho sets Stoke City target with brilliant one-liner to South Korean press

Bae Junho has helped launch the new Stoke City away kit ahead of what he hopes will be a big first full season in the Championship.
-Credit: (Image: Stoke City)

Bae Junho's star has risen enough in South Korea that he was tasked with holding an individual press conference before he flew back to England for his first full season at Stoke City.

The 20-year-old playmaker, who capped a marathon individual campaign with his first call up to the senior international squad - and then scoring on his debut, will join in pre-season training under Steven Schumacher at Clayton Wood tomorrow as reigning player of the year.

But, in a one-liner which encapsulated his ambition and determination, he told reporters: "It's time to prove myself, not gain experience."

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When he had flown back into Seoul last month, he had told the same press pack that he was aiming to significantly increase his goal output in 2024/25, having scored two and set up five in 25 starts and 13 sub appearances last term.

He added now: "I think I said that confidently after returning from a good season but that goal has not changed even now. I will return after scoring 10 goals.

"People around me say that last season was successful, and I think so too, but I didn't show everything I can show. I want to prepare thoroughly and show a better performance.

"I think I need to focus on getting closer to my teammates, adapting to new tactics, and blending in better with the team."

Junho is starting to get recognised more regularly back home but that isn't a problem.

He said: "There are times when I don't drive in Korea but take public transportation, and there are people who recognise me. They greet me warmly as if I'm meeting an old friend. I think I'm becoming known through my performances on the national team. If I get the chance, I want to show you a good performance again."

Key dates in pre-season

  • Monday, July 1: Players return to Clayton Wood for pre-season training

  • Thursday, July 11: Chester FC vs Stoke City (7.45pm kick-off)

  • Saturday, July 13 to Friday, July 19: First team training camp in Cork

  • Wednesday, July 17: Cork City vs Stoke City (kick-off time TBC)

  • Tuesday, July 23: Crewe Alexandra v Stoke City (7.30pm kick-off)

  • Saturday, July 27: Stockport County vs Stoke City (2pm kick-off*)

  • Tuesday, July 30: Bolton Wanderers v Stoke City (7.30pm kick-off)

  • Saturday, August 3: Stoke City vs AZ Alkmaar (3pm kick-off)

  • Saturday, August 10: EFL Championship starts

Is 10 goals realistic for Junho? Have your say in the comments section