Monday, 8 November 2010

Providing the SPark!

'Reliable Korean spares United's blushes'

In my opinion, a successful team is made up of a number of vital ingredients. In order for a club to compete for the biggest honours in football they have to be consistent, resilient and arguably the most important element of all, to possess not just one but several match winners throughout the squad.

Park Ji Sung proved to be such a match winner in United's narrow 2-1 win against Wolves on Saturday afternoon. The Korean's brace proved decisive as United snatched all three points in the dying moments at Old Trafford, keeping United in hot pursuit of league leaders Chelsea.

Having already opened the scoring earlier in the match which was cancelled out by Sylvan Ebanks-Blake shortly after, Park received the ball on the right deep into added time in the second half. The energetic winger cut inside the Wolves penalty area before rifling home a left foot shot past the Marcus Hannemann at his near post.

The Korean's jinking run looked to be the last role of the dice for a United side that had been outplayed by Wolves, but Park kept his cool and secured an undeserved three points for United at Old Trafford.

Saturdays performance went down as yet another impressive individual display of the devastating impact Park can have, when called upon by the United hierarchy. Park has been in sensational form of late this season, and has become a player that quite often eludes the praise he so rightly deserves.

I've found that a bitter crowd in the Manchester United official forums and a select group of United fans in general, share a view that Park would be better offloaded to a lesser club in England or across Europe. Luckily for United, Sir Alex doesn't share such sentiments.

He's a player that when both Nani and Valencia are deemed fit, will see his first team opportunities limited once again. But, what I admire about Park is his professionalism and pride to be part of Manchester United. He never appears frustrated by his lack of exposure to first team duties, he doesn't drag his hands in protest, he takes to the field and gives his all.

Much like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, a renowned super-sub himself, Park bides his time under Sir Alex Ferguson's wing. He's an opportunist who plays with a smile on his face and soaks up the somewhat limited appreciation he receives from the Old Trafford faithful. Sir Alex Ferguson however, is never shy when heaping praise on the South Korean's willingness to dig in and make a menace of himself when selected.

So often Sir Alex Ferguson re-introduces players back into the squad after a long absence and more often than not, they deliver.

Recently Gabriel Obertan reaped the rewards of Ferguson's faith. After an initial and bright introduction to Old Trafford life, Obertan's presence in the United first team faded, but the Frechman has enjoyed a recent re-emmergence in the United ranks. So keen is Ferguson to test the full capacity of his squad and keep his fringe players involved as much as possible.

On Tuesday night in Turkey against Bursaspor, it was Michael Carrick who supplied Darren Fletcher with the perfectly weighted pass to allow the Scotsman to finish. United then had the impetus to get their 3-0 victory underway. The two players who combined for United's opener in Turkey, have had to endure similar circumstances as Park and Obertan at Old Trafford.
Both Carrick and Fletcher have spent long spells watching on as others take centre stage, but they persevere, they continue to fight for their place and in their patience, they are rewarded in kind.

Sir Alex Ferguson has a talent for keeping his fringe players happy, motivated and hungry for honours. Park, like many others are often required to be patient, as they find themselves benched or left out completely, in order to accommodate the wealth of talent that makes up United's squad.

Players like Park Ji Sung understand that their chances in the United first team will be limited, but when called upon, the South Korean is a useful weapon to unleash anytime Ferguson looks to shift focus.

Closing comments....
Say what you want about Park Ji Sung - I know my own father has some harsh words to say about him - but question his ability at your peril. When United need a different dimension, a player that will work his socks off for United's cause, Park delivers with efficiency.
Ferguson should keep hold of Park for as long as possible as far as I'm concerned and in the absence of Antonio Valencia, I hope Park receives the extended run in United's starting XI that he deserves.

With Newcastle United beating Arsenal and Liverpool brushing aside Chelsea on Sunday, Manchester United find themselves in a favourable position. A mere two points now lay between United and Premier League leaders Chelsea and three points separate United from Arsenal in third place.

United are very much back in the thick of the title race and they have United's reliable number thirteen to thank for now.

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