Hwang Hee-chan (27) takes to the field with the captain’s armband.
Wolverhampton had a dramatic 2022-23 season. Initially, it was a disastrous campaign under Bruno Raz, who had been with the club since the summer of 2021. By the ninth round of the English Premier League (EPL), they had one win, three draws, and four defeats in eight games (including a postponed game against Liverpool in the seventh round), leaving them in 18th place in the relegation zone. The announcement of his dismissal came after the game against West Ham United.
It was more of the same, with only one win, one draw, and five losses under the acting manager. When Julen Lopetegui took over, Wolverhampton were 20th and bottom of the table. Tipped for relegation, staying up seemed like a virtual miracle.
But the ‘Lopetegui Magic’ kept them afloat. Lopetegui’s side won nine, drew four, and lost 10 of their remaining 23 EPL games, picking up 31 points. This gave Wolverhampton 41 points to add to their existing 10, and they were able to finish the season in 13th place.
Along the way, Hwang Hee-chan, the “Korean Legionnaire,” had a difficult time. Hwang played 32 official games in the 2022-23 season, producing three goals and one assist in the EPL, two assists in the English Football League Cup (EFL Cup), and one goal in the English FA Cup for a total of four goals and three assists (per Transfer Marks).
There was a moment of disappointment. Hwang returned to Wolverhampton after a strong showing at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and was looking to continue his momentum. He was promoted to the starting lineup under Lopetegui and impressed with an assist against Gillingham in the EFL Cup fourth round and a goal against Liverpool in the English FA Cup third round. However, he suffered a hamstring injury against Liverpool in the 22nd round of the EPL and was sidelined for a month.
It didn’t stop there. After returning to action against Newcastle United in EPL Round 27, Hwang started the scoring, but missed the next two games due to another injury. It could have been much better, but the injury bug kept hitting him. 안전놀이터
On December 12, Hwang departed the country through Incheon International Airport to start the new season. In an interview with the press, he said, “I was injured at an important moment last season. I was personally very disappointed. I think the fans must have been disappointed as well. I tried my best to take care of my body last season, but injuries are inevitable. I’m focused on not getting injured this season and doing my best to stay injury-free so I can continue my good form.”
Wolverhampton had originally planned to spend their pre-season in South Korea. However, this was ultimately canceled due to financial and operational issues with the organizers. Hwang Hee-chan said: “As a Korean, I am very disappointed that the schedule in Korea was canceled. It’s a shame because we could have done a better job. I know the team is preparing a new schedule,” he said.