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Advocaat Concerned about Park Ji-sung’s Position

Posted October. 10, 2005 03:03,   


“Where should I let Park Ji-sung play?”-

Players of the Korean national soccer team are training at the National Football Center (NFC) in Paju, Gyeonggi Province beginning October 7. Dick Advocaat, the new head coach of the Korean national soccer team, frequently shouts, “change vests” during training sessions and is working hard to come up with best 11 choices.

In particular, Advocaat is concerned about Park Ji-sung (Manchester United), the first Korean premier leaguer. Park is currently playing as a wing forward on the team, but has so far performed as an attacking midfielder on the national team. For that reason, Advocaat is repeatedly experimenting to decide Park’s position.

At a three-quarter 15-minute practice match held on October 8, Advocaat initially trained the national A team within a three-top formation of Park Ju-young (Seoul), Ahn Jung-hwan (FC Metz) and Park Ji-sung (Manchester United). For the B team, Choi Tae-wook (Shimizu S-Pulse), Lee Dong-guk (Pohang), and Lee Chun-soo (Ulsan) formed the attacking line-up.

Park Ji-sung had a good match with Ahn Jung-hwan, disturbing the B team’s defensive line with a two-on-one pass and even tried to make a breakthrough, switching positions with Park Ju-young. Advocaat made some changes to the formation by letting Park Ji-sung play as one of the three tops and attacking midfielder, and deploying Chung Gyung-ho (Gwangju) on the right-side in the third quarter. Park made Advocaat happy by displaying powerful pressure on the defense and an elaborate passing skill that led to frontal attacks while playing with Kim Doo-hyun (Seongnam).

Advocaat showed a sensitive response to the movements of players in the goalmouth, even while focusing on understanding player characteristics. Advocaat shouted, “It’s not important to score a goal. Get the best position.” Advocaat trained players with an emphasis on the timing and movements of attackers who rush to the middle from the both sides when a ball is crossed.

Park Ji-sung said, “Our coach has a good concentration. He already has a good understanding of many players. I think he put considerable emphasis on the players’ ability to take positions and movements.”

A commissioner of the Technical Committee under the Korea Football Association (KFA) Kang Shin-woo stated, “Advocaat is still in the stage of understanding players by position. I think Advocaat is looking for the best team composition by mixing players in a variety of ways.”

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com