Ki Sung-Yeung can break up play and put some tackles in, a sight sadly missing in the current Manchester United boiler house. Here's why he could be the perfect replacement for Paul Scholes...
Consistency is a popular word in the unique vernacular of football. As parlance it holds both negative and positive connotations. A player can be dubbed consistently bad as quickly as they can be praised for turning in solidly consistent performances. When used in such a way to positively to describe a player it is often one of the subtlest but most worthy accolades that can be given, particularly if the team they’re playing in is consistently poor.
This was the position Ki Sung-Yeung found himself in during Celtic’s early season bout of inexplicable collywobbles and erratic form.
Amid the embarrassing defeats, the media frenzy over Neil Lennon’s job and the general hand wringing and gnashing of teeth that follow a few defeats in the SPL, ‘Ki’ was the model of consistent brilliance. Unflappable under pressure, very assured, always committed and undoubtedly talented. He quietly got on with the job in hand whilst others around him lost form and belief. Since then of course, Celtic have done the Lazarus bit and now lead the two-horse race by a nose.
Meanwhile, the ever-dependable Ki is unsurprisingly still charging around the midfield making things tick.
He’ll also comfortably break up play and put some tackles in, a sight sadly missing in the current United boiler house
A solid passer of the ball, he excels particularly in those fast, low, long range diagonal balls from deep midfield onto the flanks. Usually timed to perfection to beat the offside trap they would give the likes of Nani, Valencia or Ashley Young a chance to run onto the ball, giving them a valuable yard or two on opposition fullbacks.
He’ll also comfortably break up play and put some tackles in, a sight sadly missing in the current Manchester United boiler house. By no means an enforcer, he has however coped with the rigours of playing in the middle against the likes of Kilmarnock and Dunfermline without being bullied off the park. He’ll add an option in the set pieces too with a decent, accurate delivery of corners and free kicks, although the queue in front of him at United for those duties will be considerably longer than the one at Celtic.
More importantly for Manchester United fans is the fact that at the age of 22 there is still a huge amount of potential for the future with Ki. Bearing in mind he has already amassed an astonishing total of 44 International caps with South Korea, including appearances at the 2010 World Cup, where he played in all his countries matches before losing in the semis to Uruguay.
Alongside various successes with FC Seoul in his native South Korea and winning the Scottish Cup with Celtic he has also won various impressive awards including Asian Young Footballer of the Year 2009, SPL Young Player of the Month October 2010 and South Korean Footballer of the Year 2011.
As a Celtic fan I’d be gutted to see Ki go. However, if he is to leave then there could be a no more worthy destination for him than Old Trafford. In that environment, as part of that hugely talented squad and with exposure to the Champions League and Premiership games he would excel. It’s a move that would see him develop from a dependable and talented player with great potential to a true world-class consistent performer.
Give him a season or two and the hole left by the ‘Ginger Prince’ will be filled quite comfortably by Ki Sung-Yueng. After all, they don’t call him ‘The Korean Scholes’ for nothing.
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