Manchester United midfielder Ji-Sung Park is a player that would walk into the first team of most Premier League clubs outside the top teams of Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City. Yet the South Korean continues to be an unsung hero for Man Utd, however his manager Sir Alex Ferguson undoubtedly rates him extremely highly. Most of Park’s play goes unnoticed, but his unselfish contribution to the team and the role that he fulfils cannot be underestimated.
Many eyebrows were raised when Manchester United signed South Korean international Ji Sung Park from PSV in 2005, and I for one thought that it was just an advertising stunt to get more publicity in the lucrative Far East. However, Park has continued to go from strength to strength at Old Trafford and has become more than just a decent squad player. The majority of Man Utd fans will appreciate the effort that he puts in for the team, and his attitude and work-rate make him the type of player that every club needs.
Ji-Sung Park was born in South Korea in 1981 and the 28 year old has gone on to captain his national team. As a youngster Park was rejected by a number of clubs due to being too small, but he has shown his doubters that he is good enough to play at the very top level. After his £4.5 million transfer from to Man Utd, Park was not a regular for the first team but has steadily forced himself into selection and has now featured over 100 times for the club. In the 2007/08 season he was something of a lucky charm for the team, with United only conceding 2 goals and remaining unbeaten in all of the 14 games that he played.
Park contributes quietly to Man Utd’s success and his energy and determination make him an important part of the side’s engine room. Park covers more ground in a match than most other players, and although he might not have the tricks or eye-catching ability of Wayne Rooney or Dimitar Berbatov, his work rate more than makes up for that. He has become something of a cult hero amongst Man Utd fans and after his best performance for the club last season, he is likely to feature heavily again in the club’s quest for silverware in this campaign.
Ferguson has no worries in slotting him into the team in big matches, showing how much he believes in Park and how good he thinks the South Korean is. Much to his disappointment Park was left out of the 2008 Champions League final, a decision Ferguson has since said was one of the hardest of his career and selected him in the starting line up of this year’s final. One of the key matches Park contributed in was the Champions League semi final last season, where his vital goal helped Man Utd reach the final. Ji-Sung Park will be at Man Utd for a few years yet as well, having signed a three year contract extension in the summer, but how highly do you rate him?
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