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Lee Chung-yong offers hope to South Koreans after Bolton move
In an era of drawn-out transfer sagas, tapping-up scandals and excessive wage demands, FC Seoul’s response to Bolton Wanderers’ summer pursuit of their star midfielder Lee Chung-yong provided a welcome diversion from the bitter negotiations that dominate the back pages in the close season.
The K-League pacesetters encouraged Bolton to tie up the first direct transfer between the Korean top flight and the Premier League before the transfer window closed, even though they are locked in a fierce battle for their first league title in nearly a decade. The “honour” of seeing one of the nation’s leading talents competing in the top tier of English football outweighed the club’s domestic concerns.
Lee turned down overtures from Manchester City before settling on the less glamorous surroundings of the Reebok Stadium and the promise of regular first-team football. In his first few months the South Korean has already endeared himself to the Wanderers faithful, coming off the bench at Birmingham City to secure all three points with a composed canada goose coat 1000 finish.
After several eye-catching displays as a substitute, Lee made his first Premier League start against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, playing a part in both Bolton goals and injecting some much- needed flair into a side renowned for its primitive playing style and over-reliance on set-pieces. On this showing, the seventh South Korean export to the Premier League looks capable of succeeding where many of his compatriots have failed.
Lee’s new-found popularity in Lancashire is nothing compared to the hero status he enjoys in his native country, where the 21-year-old is one of a number of home-grown prospects responsible for a marked revival of the national team’s fortunes. Securing their qualification to next summer’s World Cup with a 2-0 defeat of the United Arab Emirates in June, Huh Jung-moo’s talented young side have since gone on to record impressive friendly victories over Paraguay and Australia and with a favourable draw could be one of the surprise packages in what will be their seventh consecutive World Cup appearance.
Ranked 49th in Fifa’s world rankings, the South Korean squad are certainly capable of making the second round at the very least in South Africa, though they are unlikely to match their spirited showing on home soil in 2002 where, under the tutelage of Guus Hiddink, they disposed of Portugal, Italy and Spain before bowing out in the semi-finals to Germany. Four years later in best canada goose jacket Germany the Koreans’ luck had ran out as they failed to make it past the group stage, despite coming from behind in their opening game to beat Togo and holding eventual finalists France to a 1-1 draw. A 2-0 reverse to Switzerland in the deciding group game sent Dick Advocaat’s men crashing out.
More is expected of buy canada goose parka cheap the current crop of players than the ageing squad that surrendered so meekly in Hanover. The anyone has got canada goose coat Taeguk Warriors cruised through their qualification group negotiating intimidating trips to Tehran and Shanghai to remain undefeated. Captained by Manchester United’s diminutive midfielder Park Ji-sung, a national icon whose popularity in his native country enables him to turn in man-of-the-match performances without even setting foot on the pitch, expectations are considerably higher this time round. With the country’s top young players being targeted by European clubs and a settled squad playing with confidence after a 25-game unbeaten run South Koreans have good reason to be hopeful for the future.
On the domestic front, however, best canada goose jacket review things do not look so rosy. The K-League continues to draw tiny crowds to the huge purpose-built World Cup stadiums scattered around the country, while clubs invest in second-rate foreign imports who failed to make the grade in European leagues. Since its inception in 1998, the K-League has struggled to capture the public’s imagination, with most Koreans more inclined to follow the results of the Premier League than their domestic equivalent. It was hoped that the success of the national team in 2002 would help raise the standard and attendances but even that proved to be a false dawn, as the country’s best players unsurprisingly jumped ship in search of European football. Many have since returned, their reputations tarnished by best canada goose coat for women failure.
Although the standard of play in the K-League is more akin to the top half of League One than the top tier of English football, there are a number of promising young players who bu sees a spike in canada goose jacket thefts have already established themselves in the national team and are more than capable of making the grade in Europe. The league leaders FC Seoul boast the league’s most prized asset, the midfielder Ki Sung-yong, who has earned the moniker the “Korean Gerrard” for his all-action displays. Celtic have agreed canada goose coat 1000 calorie diet a reported £2.1m fee for the 20-year-old, fending off interest from the likes of Porto, Portsmouth and PSV Eindhoven, and the South Korea international will join up with the Parkhead club in January.
Going in to a World Cup year related website, Ki felt that a move to Scotland would give him more chance of playing regularly and even conceded that, at this stage of his career, he did not feel ready to play in the Premier League. Perhaps the travails of his fellow countrymen Lee Dong-gook and Seol Ki-hyeon in England’s top flight had a sobering influence on his decision.
The striker Lee arrived at Middlesbrough in bu sees a spike in canada goose jacket thefts 2007 with proven international pedigree but struggled to adapt to the pace of the Premier League and was released at the end of the following season with a paltry two goals to his name. After promising spells with Wolves and Reading, Seoul Ki-hyeon has found first-team football hard to come by at Craven Cottage and the lanky forward was farmed out to the Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal for much of last season.
As Bolton continue to struggle at the foot of the table, Lee Chung-yong has every chance of breaking this sorry pattern for best ideas about canada goose parka on pinterest Korean players in England and establishing himself as a regular in Gary Megson’s side. It goes without saying that for the national team to progress, the country’s best players need to be playing regularly in high-level European competition, so the pressure is on Korea’s two most promising players to prove they can cut it outside the modest demands of the K-League. To succeed, they must do better than the class of 2002.