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