United’s much-maligned Korean may be best suited in the middle of the Park

Park Ji-Sung, Christophe Berra

Much celebrated, yet much scrutinised, Park ji-Sung has never really had it his own way and has long found himself in a battle to become an established member of the squad. His PSV days were one of success and, although not lasting long because the Red Devils came calling right away, he was the catalyst in that side, forming the backbone of the Dutch outfit and flourished under the know-how of Guus Hiddink in a central position.

Since then, he’s long been Fergie’s underrated, albeit sometimes inconsistent, weapon, usually dispatched for the big games. Saturday may just have been the day where his critics sat up and took note of the talent possessed by this workman-like character, and recognise that his signing in 2005 was not for the benefit of shirt sales alone. United’s win over Wolverhampton was scrappy, below-par even and at times the visitors looked likely to snatch it all. But thanks partly to the contribution of central partner Darren Fletcher, who set up both goals, Park was able to silence his doubters for a while longer.

It never really looked destined to be a good day for Manchester United once Owen Hargreaves limped off the field after just six minutes, an incident which was greeted by an almost-awkward ovation, but even more so, pessimism etched across every single spectator in that ground. Yet, a little before 5pm, that expression became a grin as Old Trafford embraced a somewhat unlikely hero in the shape of Park ji-Sung. He drifted into the centre on numerous occasions, and was one of the few standouts in what was a wholly disappointing game for United.

Against Bursaspor last week, he once again found success in the middle, a reason as to why Sir Alex deployed him as a CAM again for the Wolves game. It’s only a suggestion; Park was excellent in this more central, albeit slightly advanced, position. Indeed, it looks as if Fergie thinks the same; with the declining numbers in the centre what with all the injuries, Park may just be entrusted in this role once again in the Manchester Derby on Wednesday night. Ignore the pun, but our favourite South Korean might just be best suited in the middle of the Park…

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5 responses to “United’s much-maligned Korean may be best suited in the middle of the Park”

  1. Jay says :

    He is OK as a winger, he has good defensive qualities (essential against better teams) and has the ability to cut inside often since he is comfortable with both feet. The latter is one of the reasons why he is so effective just behind the striker in a central position. He is also very good at short passes and has good movement. That makes him rather good in congested defences.

  2. Arun says :

    he’s been playing in this central role for his NT for years. His low centre of gravity helps him to play in box areas quite effectively. for a player who is inconsistent with possession, his guarding ability is top class, can attract lot of fouls. His creative part is questionable, but can do a good amount of work in this area. not a fan of him playing wide unless it’s to mark opponent wingers/full backs.

  3. The Glutten says :

    I really hate to be the bad guy but I’ve at least got to be consistant with my critisism. Poor in possession and lack of creativity are not insignificant flaws when you are playing as an attacking midfielder or winger, or anywhere else for that matter. He isn’t playing a quick, short-passing game, he’s quickly offloading the ball to the nearest man so as not to lose possession (yet again). One-on-one with any defender and Park is going to lose the ball and offer a counter attack to the opposition. The fact that he will then track back hard to win it back doesn’t really excuse the initial sin.

    I know this seems like a completely ungrateful attitude after the Wolves game but he is such a limited player. Granted he can offer a different slant when he has quality players around him but he cannot be relied on to spearhead a midfield when the more creative players are injured.

    Sorry, what a downer of a comment! I just don’t think it would be honest to change my tune just because he scored 2 of his 5 goals for the season in a single game.

    • The Gaffer says :

      Your comment is an example of split-opinion on this subject and criticism (as long as it’s constructive) is welcome. What I would say is that what he lacks in pace, he at least makes up for with his tremendous work rate and, bless the guy, he does try to run at full backs and isn’t the worst dribbler. I agree that his game isn’t perfect but he can get somewhere close after time…

      “…but he cannot be relied on to spearhead a midfield when the more creative players are injured.”

      No, I agree (sort of).

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