[Q&A]Park says first goal gave him confidenceMANCHESTER ― Park Ji-sung, 25, of Manchester United, may be one of the most famous Koreans around, but he has yet to be recognized on the streets in England. He seldom goes out except to eat, and he spends most of his spare time at home. Besides his hobbies of reading and playing computer games, Park’s life revolves around soccer. Asked which team he is most impressed with, he cites his own. Park spoke at a press conference on Dec. 29.
Q. What was this year like as the first Korean playing in the Premiere League?
A.I was really happy to join the prestigious Manchester United. And while I felt pressured to do well, I think I adjusted well enough. I feel I have adapted almost completely. Half a year has passed, and it has seemed like a long time. I also learned a lot.
What was most difficult for you?
Nothing was really too difficult because I adapted more quickly than I thought. But this is a very strong team and there are so many stars. Personally, I felt bad about not scoring.
You scored your first competitive goal in England in a match against Birmingham.
With most of the players having scored at least one goal, as a midfielder I felt pressured to score. That day, I felt relieved and from then on I was able to play more confidently.
Did you do anything special to get the goal?
No, not really. I believe a goal or assist comes when I push myself all the way.
You were very young in the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup. Do you have any advice for young players?
What’s important is not to feel afraid. It doesn’t matter how famous their opponents are. They should focus on their play.
The 2002 World Cup was held at home.
We definitely should know how to play an away game by now. It won’t be a problem to play against Switzerland this year. What is important is how adaptable the players are.
How do you feel when you receive a standing ovation leaving the field?
Everybody gets that, but it’s a real happy moment.
by Hong Eun-ha
Hong Eun-ah, 25, is a FIFA referee and writes columns for the JoongAng Ilbo.