Date registered: 14.10.2006
| Created on 02.06.2007 - 03:58|| |
Though his first title-winning campaign ended six weeks prematurely due to cartilage problems, Ji-Sung Park’s departure from the Premiership stage in 2006/07 was typical of his efforts in a Red shirt thus far.
It was the industrious South Korean’s tap-in, his fifth league goal of the campaign (from just eight starts), that virtually secured the points against Blackburn at Old Trafford, another pivotal moment in a season chock-full of them. It followed a succession of lung-bursting efforts across United’s midfield, whether as a first-choice or as substitute, that have made him something of a cult hero since his arrival from
PSV in the summer of 2005.
Born in Seoul, raised in Suwon just outside South Korea’s capital, Park left school at 18 to join Japanese side Kyoto Purple Sanga. His potential to make the leap from Asia to Europe was spotted by Guus Hiddink, who coached the South Korea during their successful run to the World Cup semi finals in 2002. Later that year, Park followed Hiddink to PSV.
Jiearned widespread recognition in 2005 after scoring against Milan in the Champions League semi finals, but he had gradually been building his reputation in Holland. Park played only a fleeting part in PSV’s title success in his first season in Holland. Two years later he had fully adapted to European football and was an integral component of the side that clinched Holland's League and Cup Double.
Alerted to his blossoming talent, Sir Alex had Park watched more than 20 times before finally signing him for an undisclosed fee, believed to be £4 million, in June 2005. Having already proved his ability in Europe, acclimatising to the Premiership was Park’s initial test. He rose to the challenge, playing all but four of United’s Premiership matches in 2005/06. He scored his first goal for the club with a fine strike in the 3-1 away win
over Birmingham in December 2005, and claimed his first medal in the Carling Cup final win in February.
Fresh from a visit to renowned knee surgeon Richard Steadman in April – his second operation of the season – we look forward to a return as swift as the pace with which he attacks opposing defences.