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Park Ji-sung Should Play Left, Not Right

Posted October. 25, 2005 07:25,   


One man`s misfortune is often another`s opportunity. And so it is that Park Ji-Sung now has his best chance yet to establish himself as a first-choice Manchester United player.

With Ryan Giggs a long-term injury casualty and Cristiano Ronaldo affected by matters off the field, Park should get plenty of playing time in the coming weeks.

Manchester United 1, Tottenham Hotspur 1-

That`s the good news. The bad news, which was in strong evidence on Saturday as United stuttered to their second draw of the week, was that the South Korean will have to adapt to an unfamiliar role.

Park `s most effective football for his country, his old club PSV Eindhoven and, indeed, United has been on the right wing. Now, though, he must learn to play on the left.

About 30 excited Korean journalists packed into the Old Trafford press box to witness Park and Tottenham`s Korean left-back Young-Pyo Lee in direct confrontation.

But the expected match-up never materialized as Lee enjoyed a comfortable afternoon against Darren Fletcher, who is never destined to be a winger.

A patchy first-half display suggested Park needs time to adapt to life on the other side.

The fact that he is right-footed makes it difficult for him to beat left full-backs on the outside and deliver meaningful crosses.

The Korean `s inability to get in behind Tottenham`s defense meant a lack of goal-scoring opportunities for the likes of Ruud van Nistelrooy and Wayne Rooney.

Park can never be accused of shirking responsibility, however, and applied himself manfully throughout.

Mikael Silvestre struck an early goal but United were disjointed - so often the case of late - and Park struggled to make a meaningful impact on the game.

Both sides were high on defensive organization, low on attacking zest.

Tottenham will doubtless have been happier with the outcome, especially since Jermaine Jenas`s superb equalizer was the one sublime moment in an encounter that otherwise lacked quality.

United`s lack of ambition and penetration again undermined their aspirations, even when Ronaldo was introduced late on.

Finally, with six minutes remaining, Park gave a brief glimpse of his true ability.

The Korean swerved into the Tottenham box but his shot lacked bite. It was a moment that summed up his and United`s match: plenty of effort but no end product.

Still, Park should now have plenty of opportunity to cement his place in the team.