Ji Sung Park is just one of many foreign players that’ve joined United over the last decade. Integrating into a new culture, climate and style of football can be difficult and is just one of the hurdles that foreign players have to overcome when joining United. Last season we saw the initial effect is had on David De Gea, and the improvements in his game once he’d settled down were really significant. Speaking about his personal experience, Park has said how nervous he was when starting at United, but also how proud he was to be playing at one of the biggest clubs in the world.
Speaking to ManUtd.com, Park said moving to a club in a different continent “can be nerve-wracking, but if you want to play at a high level you have to leave your country. I was 19 when I left South Korea to go to Japan, which obviously wasn’t too far away. I was happy to move at that stage because I wanted to experience a different culture and style of football. Then I came to Europe.” He added “ I had a look around and it was clear this was the biggest club in the world. I remember it being a really proud moment.”
The comments certainly come in good time for Shinji Kagawa’s arrival as he’ll simply become the latest in a long line of foreign players that’ve joined United. At 23 years-old the timing seems reasonable for Kagawa’s move as he’s still young, but also past his initial young footballing years. At the age of 20, David De Gea had a lot of pressure on him to replace Edwin Van der Sar while still being relatively inexperienced. At least Kagawa’s position can be a forgiving one, unlike the daunting prospect of being a goalkeeper and the abnormally high costs of mistakes.
With the pre-season tour coming up, and Sir Alex confirming that Kagawa will travel and play a part in all of it, it seems the Japanase player will certainly be pushed in to United action at a reasonable rate. With the options that Kagawa opens up in turns of formation and shape, it seems as though United want him ready for Premier League action as soon as possible. Likewise, Sir Alex has confirmed that Nick Powell will also travel with the squad on the tour. Lets hope that both overcome the nerves, as I’m sure they will, and relish the prospect of playing for United, just like Park and many other players before them have done.
Published with permission from The Devils of Manchester | Manchester United Blog and News.