Kim talks about ‘next Park Ji-sung’

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Kim talks about ‘next Park Ji-sung’

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Kim Bo-kyung, left, trains with Park Ji-sung during Korean national team training in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, on Dec. 28, 2010. [JoongAng Ilbo]

When Park Ji-sung retired from the Korean national team, many pundits suggested that Cerezo Osaka midfielder Kim Bo-kyung could fill the void.

In fact, Park himself even mentioned Kim as his heir when announcing his national team retirement in January.

Kim has even shown he can play like Park. In Korea’s friendly against Honduras on March 25, the 22-year-old inherited Park’s No. 7 jersey and led the Korean attack down both flanks before he was replaced in 55th minute.

National team head coach Cho Kwang-rae has often praised Kim, saying he has the potential to be like Park.

After the game against Honduras the midfielder’s reputation was further improved after the energy and ball skills he showed on the pitch drew more favorable comparisons with the Manchester United player.

That’s not the only reason the media has dubbed Kim the “next Park Ji-sung.” Besides his playing style, Kim is walking a similar football career to Park, starting his professional career in Japan, just like Park did 11 years ago.

Kim joined Cerezo Osaka without entering the K-League draft last year.

Opting not to graduate from Hongik University, Kim instead headed to the J-League. Park made his trip to Japan while he was at Myongji University. The former Korean national team captain made his professional debut in the J-League with the Kyoto Purple Sanga in 2000.

However, Kim said in a recent interview that being tagged as the next Park Ji-sung is a big burden as well as an honor. He said he will try his best to meet the expectations that have been placed upon him but admitted he still needs to work hard if he is to reach Park’s level.

Ilgan Sports, the JoongAng Ilbo’s daily sports newspaper, conducted a phone interview with Kim on Sunday to talk about his recent football life, including his involvement with the national team and the Olympic team.


Q. The Korean media frequently touts you as a potential successor to Park Ji-sung. What do you think about that?

A. It feels good but honestly, I don’t really want to be known as that. Park is a friendly person and there are lots of things to learn from him but when it comes to football he sits way above my level. In fact, when I see an article that includes my name along with Park’s I feel embarrassed. Of course I will push myself on further to fill the gap between myself and Park.

Recently, the Korean national team and the Korean Olympic team have been arguing about which players to include in their squads. You are wanted by both teams. What are your thoughts on that?

I am thankful that national team head coach Cho Kwang-rae and Olympic team head coach Hong Myung-bo see me as a good player. The national team provides me with a chance to play with the best footballers in Korea while the Olympic team is where I played with my friends for a long time. I heard the two coaches are trying to make things work out and I expect a good result from them. I am ready to do my best for either team.

What are the differences between Cho and Hong’s coaching styles?

Cho’s football is like what you might find in an animation, requiring creative thinking and lots of movement throughout the game, whereas Hong emphasizes accurate football in both attack and defense.

Some people say you don’t like to talk with the media. Is that true and if so why?

I have bad memories from the 2010 World Cup. I was just a young player and during a team interview session I answered the questions as best as I could but one reporter suddenly showed his temper and said “If you interview that way, there is nothing I can write.” After that incident, I tried to hide myself from the media.

These days, however, I have changed my mind. As a national team member, I have learned that giving interviews is not only a duty but also my right.

Goalkeeper Kim Jin-hyeon is your teammate on both your club and the national team. What does he mean to you?

If Kim wasn’t part of Cerezo Osaka, I would probably still be adjusting to life in Japan and with the team. I always try to stay around Kim when I am not on the pitch because he is an essential person to me both on the pitch and when it comes to living in Japan. It will be a big problem for me if he moves to another team.

What are your goals for this season?

My first goal is to help Cerezo Osaka. I want to get as many goals and assists as I can to help my club do well in the J-League and AFC Champions League. With Korea, whether it is Cho’s national team or Hong’s Olympic team, I want to score goals to fulfill the expectations that people have of me.


By Song Ji-hoon, Joo Kyung-don [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [일간스포츠]

‘신형 날개’ 김보경 “제2의 박지성? 노 땡큐”

"(박)지성이 형의 후계자요? 어휴~ 그런 말씀 마세요."

김보경(22·세레소 오사카)은 '캡틴' 박지성(30·맨체스터 유나이티드)의 은퇴 이후 대표팀의 측면 공격을 이끌 적임자로 꼽힌다. 1월31일 은퇴 기자회견에 참석한 박지성 또한 '후계자를 꼽아달라'는 취재진의 요구에 김보경의 이름을 거론했다. 3월25일 열린 온두라스와의 A매치 평가전에서 김보경은 박지성의 등번호 7번을 달고 55분간 한국의 측면 공격을 이끌며 실력을 입증해보였다. 하지만 1일 일간스포츠와의 전화통화에서 김보경은 "언론 보도를 통해 '제2의 박지성'이라는 표현을 접할 때마다 얼굴이 화끈거린다"며 난감해했다. 물론 "(박)지성이 형과의 격차를 좁히기 위해 최선을 다 할 것"이라는 다짐이 따라붙었다. 김보경의 최근 관심사는 A팀과 올림픽팀의 갈등, 소속팀 세레소의 성적 등에 모아져 있다.

-어떻게 지내나

"훈련 과정에서 엉덩이를 다쳤다. 심각하진 않지만 경기에 나서긴 힘든 상황이다. 3일 열리는 아레마 말랑(인도네시아)과의 AFC챔피언스리그 조별리그 원정경기에도 참여하지 못한다. 몸은 멀리 떨어져 있지만 마음으로나마 동료들을 응원할 생각이다."

-최근 들어 이름 앞에 '박지성의 후계자'라는 수식어가 자주 등장하는데

"기분은 좋지만, 솔직히 말해 사양하고 싶다. 지성이 형은 친근하고 배울 점 많은 선배지만, 경기력 면에서는 멀게만 느껴지는 존재다. '박지성'이라는 이름과 내 이름이 같이 나오는 기사를 접할 때마다 민망하다. 물론 격차를 좁히기 위한 노력은 계속해야겠지만."

-A팀과 올림픽팀이 벌이는 '선수 차출 갈등'의 대상자 중 한 명인데

"조광래 감독님과 홍명보 감독님이 모두 좋게 봐주셔서 과분한 영광을 누리는 것 같다. A팀은 최고의 선수들이 모여 있다는 점에서 의미가 있고, 올림픽팀은 또래 친구들과 오랫동안 발을 맞춰 애착이 남다르다. 두 감독님이 서로 윈-윈 할 수 있는 방법을 찾기로 하셨다고 들었는데, 좋은 결과가 있을 것으로 본다. 개인적으로는 어느 대표팀에서 뛰든 최선을 다 할 준비가 돼 있다."

-조광래 감독과 홍명보 감독의 지도 스타일에는 어떤 차이가 있나

"조광래 감독님의 축구는 '만화축구'라는 표현과 잘 어울린다. 움직임과 생각이 많아야 하는 축구다. 홍명보 감독님은 수비와 공격 모두 세밀하게 풀어나갈 것을 주문하신다. 큰 틀에서 봤을 때 차이는 크지 않다."

-언론과의 접촉을 좋아하지 않는다고 들었는데

"남아공월드컵 때 안 좋은 추억이 있다. 선수단 전체가 참여한 인터뷰에서 막내로서 나름 성의껏 대답했는데, 어떤 기자분이 대뜸 '그런 식으로 인터뷰하면 (기사를) 쓸 게 없다'며 짜증을 내시더라. 그 이후 마음이 상해 한동안 언론과의 만남을 꺼렸다. 하지만 최근에 마음을 고쳐먹기로 했다. 대표팀 멤버로서 인터뷰에 응하는 건 의무일 뿐만 아니라 권리일 수도 있겠다는 생각이 들었다."

-세레소와 대표팀에서 한솥밥을 먹고 있는 김진현(23·GK)은 어떤 존재인가

"올 시즌을 앞두고 세레소에 건너왔는데, (김)진현이 형이 없었다면 아직까지 팀에 완전히 적응하지 못했을 것이다. 운동하지 않을 땐 늘 진현이 형옆에 찰싹 붙어 다닌다. 선수로서 뿐만 아니라 생활에서도 결코 없어서는 안 될 존재다. 다른 팀에서 데려가면 큰일인데(웃음)."

-올 시즌 목표는

"소속팀에 기여하는 것이 먼저다. 정규리그와 AFC챔피언스리그에서 가급적 공격포인트를 많이 올려 보탬이 되었으면 한다. 대표팀에서는 A팀이든 올림픽팀이든 나를 필요로 하는 곳에서 골을 넣어 기대에 보답하고 싶다.

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