Park Ji Sung came to Old Trafford back in 2005 from PSV Eindhoven. Park caught the eyes of football lovers after back to back excellent performances for South Korea in World Cup 2002. Many believed that it was more a commercial signing that was purely made to capture Asian Market through selling Club’s Merchandise. That impression lasted in minds of many for a long long time and still there are those who think that way. Fans had solid doubts whether Park has that quality to play for the top European club but recent runs have spilled water on such doubts. The Manager has always shown faith in him and started with him in the toughest fixtures and one must be very neutral in saying that he has live up to the expectations.
It’s believed that utility players have this setback that they are good at many things but not great at any. Due to versatility they can fill in various positions and at the end of the day they can have a pretty decent performance but cannot be exceptional in a particular role. Park Ji Sung is one of those players who fits in that category. However, if you analyze his career so far, he has really excelled in the United system which Fergie employs. He certainly lived up to the expectations of everyone whenever he has been called upon.
He doesn’t have the natural scoring instincts and scoring is not what gets him the accolades but it’s the remarkable consistency with which he plays. He hardly does anything wrong, you got to least expect any blunders from him. He always executes a plan on the pitch, sometimes radically different but close to perfection and that often goes unnoticed by most of us. His work rate is probably the second best next to Darren Fletcher. Defenders might take him lightly but it’s his ability to drop into spaces and intelligent runs into the box that rings the opponent’s alarm bells. There’s a reason why Fergie plays him in the big games and that reason was somehow not very apparent to fans until recently. In toughest of games Fergie always preferred to go with Park which Mourinho also acknowledged when he was in charge at Inter Milan two seasons ago and had to face Manchester United in Champions League Clash. In post-match interview Mourinho stated that he always knew that Fergie would throw in Park Ji Sung.
When you look at Park you don’t see someone full of trickery and skills. Park exhibits simple classical football which is somewhat less exciting for most of the fans due to which he was a constant target of criticism in his early stage of United career. In past three years or so, when United was on a dream run, and the squad was accumulated with stars, Park still managed to outshine several star players on number of occasions not only in Premier League but in Uefa Champions League as well. After the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo and Tevez and with the Legendary trio Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville getting older and finding less minutes on the pitch, Park really had to step up and perform his duties well. It is however late but the fans are now beginning to realize that Park had been one of the most under-rated players at United who now constitutes the nucleus of the club.
Desperate times need desperate measures but It was the individual brilliance of Park Ji Sung against Wolves which was just a glimpse of the steel and heart of the player.