Football Beginnings | Hee Chan Hwang

Wolves' South Korean international forward Hee Chan Hwang discusses the ups and downs of his early days as a young footballer when he was trying to make his way into the game.

Who was your role model when you were growing up?

When I was young, I watched the 2002 Korea and Japan World Cup, and at the time my idol was the Brazilian Ronaldo. Then after a little bit of growing up, my role models were Suarez, Neymar and Aguero. They helped me many times and I like those types of players who are aggressive, humble and goal scorers.

Did you have a mentor who helped guide you?

When I was young, many coaches taught me about how to be outside of the pitch and inside of the pitch too, of course. I learned a lot from them and my parents too, and my grandparents – they said to always stay humble and give everything for the team, play all the time for the team. That’s why I can say I’m a team player and I do everything for my team.

What setbacks did you have to overcome?

I didn’t get injured many times, I was just enjoying my football and I trained a lot. When I was 16 to 18, I trained every single day at least for or five times. Three years like that and after people were saying I was the best player in my age in Korea and I was going to be the best player in Korea, so I trained even harder. I remember that time.

What was your biggest success as a young player?

When I played the under-16 Asian Cup and we lost to Uzbekistan in the quarter-final I think, but I got the Golden Boot and that was for me very meaningful. From that tournament I had more confidence and I just tried to train hard, and every result came automatically.

Do you have any moments you still remember from that time?

Every tournament I got Golden Boot in Korea, but I wasn’t satisfied, so every single day I gave my best to become a professional football and a Premier League player.

What have you learned most between then and now?

To stay humble. Firstly, I trained really hard, everything – speed, shooting, dribbling, skills – everything. I trained everything every day, and I think that’s helped me a lot. I can say to young players, you have to train hard, then you can get the results.

This article originally featured in Wolves' official 2023/24 matchday programme. Last season's programmes are still available to purchase online through retailers Curtis Sports