Yesterday’s game was a illustration of perhaps how Ji-Sung Park is taken for
granted at our great club. Following a virus (that not even Sir Alex would
be ruthless enough to sell to Real Madrid) that has swept through Carrington
of late, and on the back of a 1,700 mile flight back from Turkey, the side
that took the field against Wolves was shorn of many first-team players and
a lot of experience.
Five minutes in and there was another blow for United, as Owen Hargreaves –
making his first start for the Reds in 777 days – hobbled off the pitch and
down the Old Trafford tunnel clutching his hamstring, leading Bebe to come
on much sooner than Sir Alex intended. Against a stubborn Wolves side who
have played well of late, it promised to be a tricky afternoon for the side
looking to catch up with title leaders Chelsea. And so it proved to be, with
a hard-fought victory only being secured in the dying seconds by our Korean
midfielder, who had previously given us the lead with a smart finish just
before half-time. As I mentioned earlier, I do believe that some United
supporters undervalue Ji-Sung Park greatly.
“He runs around a lot” or “He tries his best” are claims I’ve heard before
from the stands, and many fans seem mainly to celebrate him by referencing
the culinary delights in his native country. This has always seemed very
unfair to me, as since 2005 Park has been an incredibly important squad
player for United. He can play adeptly on either wing, through the middle or
just off the striker, always provides excellent workrate, has never once
publicly complained about lack of starts and (I would imagine) isn’t making
too much of a dent on the wage bill.
His goals yesterday proved his quality – well picked out by Darren Fletcher
both times, his first was a finish any goalscorer would have been proud of,
his second a jinking run and finish which was, dare I say, Ronaldo-esque.
Okay, Ji-Sung Park isn’t Ronnie, and never will be, but with his versatility
and the squad depth under question currently, he’s suddenly become a key
figure in United’s quest to wrestle the Premier League off of Chelsea. His
two goals yesterday may just go a long way to realizing that dream…