Park - The Very Definition Of 'Big-Game Player'
In 2008/09, Ji-sung Park scored four goals. One of these came at Stamford Bridge; the next one at Fulham, a very difficult place for United, in an FA Cup quarter-final; he scored the third at Middlesbrough, to seal a very important win during the run-in; the fourth and most memorable was his goal at the Emirates, in the Champions League semi-final.
This season, he scored three goals. One at the Emirates, in the crucial league fixture against Arsenal; one against Milan where he was one of our best players on the night; and one today, against Liverpool which gave us victory and propelled us back on top. All these goals were different, just as he usually plays in different positions, depending on the opposition and on our injury list.
'We can give him roles to play because of his intelligence and discipline,' Fergie said.
'Today we found him another role, slightly different from the Milan game but nevertheless really important. He's such a great little lad that his courage got him the goal.'
Oh yes but he's much more than a courageous and industrious player: his record proves he's the ultimate big-game player. He rarely scores in run-of-the-mill games; he scores when the chips are down. I guess it's not merely because of his quality, it's also down to the fact that the opponents are simply not picking him up; in their tactical shrewdness they concentrate on Rooney (or in the past, Ronaldo) and just dismiss Park as a grafter who is not really dangerous as an attacking weapon. He is seen as a spoiler and he's usually employed as one but it seems Fergie recognizes his value as our invisible weapon, one who can also make well-timed runs into the box which nobody seems to notice.
Park is a brilliant tactical weapon and full credit to Fergie for utilising him perfectly. The quality of the Korean's recent displays is a credit to his belief and attitude but also to Fergie's managerial nous.