Having broken his scoring duck in the League Cup quarter finals, Ji-Sung Park definitely merits a review. Obviously, his talents were well known prior to his transfer to Manchester United from his performances, most notably, in the World Cup and the Champions League, while playing for PSV Eindhoven. However, our reviews at Manchester United Blog are solely concerned with his performances with a MU shirt on.
Appearances: 25 (11 as sub)
Premiership: 17 (5)
Europe: 6 (6)
League Cup: 2
Goalscoring – 7
While not bought as a specialist striker, Park has certainly demonstrated an eye for goal in his career. To be honest, thus far, his goal scoring talents have not been demonstrated- seemingly just a lack of composure when it matters. This could be explained by the fact that players just have less time on the ball in the Premiership than, say, the Dutch League. It could also be explained that Ji has often been brought on to rescue situations when time is a factor and pressure is magnified. Let’s just hope that we don’t create another Diego Forlan complex. Also that the recent goal against Birmingham will be just the first of many to come.
Attacking Play – 8
Really excellent signs- both when Park has played through the middle or along the flanks. Has shown some marvellous tenacity in keeping the ball and sucking defenders in. Perhaps could do with a little more quality in terms of the crosses in the final third. But always sparky, energetic and chasing down every ball. Some lovely moments with Rooney and Scholesy as well.
Defensive Qualities – 6
Obviously not Ji-Sung Park’s strongest attribute. Nevertheless, cannot be faulted for effort in any way. Just lacks the basic height and physical strength to be considered a defensive asset. Also some evidence of naivety in chasing the ball down, rather than sticking to the man when required. This hasn’t been helped by the fact that we lack a specialist left back at the moment, following the injury to Gabriel Heinze and with Park often playing down the left side, along with equally inexperienced players such as Kieron Richardson– his defensive weaknesses are that much more exposed.
Passing & Link up play – 9
One of the most pleasing elements to the performances of Ji-Sung Park has been his link up play with the established players, such as Scholesy, Rooney, RVN and Giggsy. And also with the new breed- the likes of Smithy and Fletcher. Many would say that in this respect Park has far outperformed Cristiano Ronaldo and that when he plays, Man Utd are a much better and more cohesive unit. While he does sometimes make the wrong decisions and gives the ball away cheaply, one might be surprised to learn that he has one of the highest scores, in terms of percentage, for passing completion rate– in the whole squad!!
Fitness and Attitude – 10
I don’t think that even Man Utd‘s more vociferous critics could deny Ji-Sung Park a 10 out of 10 score in this category. And it is highly doubtful that any other player in the Man Utd squad could rival Park in this category either. His fitness is supreme. His engine just never stops- running up and down the pitch for 90 minutes and then looking fresh as a dasiy! And his attitude has proved to be equally as admirable- always positive, giving 100%, never giving up and having enough humility, rather than ego, to accept the Manager‘s decisons- whatever his personal feelings about them. What more can one say? A class act in this respect.
Overall Score– 8
Let’s hope that come the end of the season, we will be reviewing Ji-Sung Park for our Player of the Season award. In order for that to happen, he needs to play more games on a regular basis and not just as a substitute. Certainly, we have seen enough to know that this is not another “lemon” transfer, in the mould of recent midfielders brought in, such as Kleberson, Djiemba Djiemba, etc. Park also needs to score more goals and show that much more composure in the delivery of the final ball. Having said all of this, one has to be pleased with Ji-Sung Park’s initial performances and impact on the team. In lieu of this, we are happy to award Ji-Sung Park our Player of the Month award.