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Thursday 14 December 2017

Park's here to score not to sell shirts says Fergie

Alex Ferguson has rejected the theory that Park Ji-sung was signed merely to increase Manchester United's popularity in the Far East.

Park arrived at Old Trafford for a relatively bargain price of £4m in 2005 but until this season rarely looked like establishing himself as part of Ferguson's first-choice starting line-up.

Undoubtedly though, Park's United connection has brought the Old Trafford outfit huge commercial spin-offs, with a million club credit cards currently in use in South Korea and two hugely successful pre-season trips to Seoul helping to cement them in the country's affections.

For Ferguson though, this was a peripheral issue. Even though he left Park out of his squad completely for the 2008 Champions League final, the United boss always felt the energetic midfielder -- who first came to prominence with his performances in a Champions League semi-final against AC Milan for PSV Eindhoven in 2005 -- had a major role to play for his team.

And now, in the system that fits Wayne Rooney so well, Ferguson has found Park to be ideally suited as well.

"I didn't think that (Park was bought just to sell shirts).





DISCIPLINED

"When I went to see him play in those Champions League semi-finals for PSV Eindhoven in 2005 I thought this is a player who understands football.

"He is intelligent and disciplined and he can play different positions. I had no issues about that at all.

"Someone is always going to take a runner on something like selling shirts. But you could say that about every player we have signed."

Anyone heading to the club's Megastore for a Park shirt on Sunday was not doing it because of his nationality.

After scoring important goals against Arsenal and Milan already this year, the 29-year-old added another to his tally on Sunday, hurling himself at Darren Fletcher's curling cross to give United a vital victory over Liverpool.

"It was a great feeling to score against Liverpool," he said.

"Derby matches are very important games, so to score the winner in one is a fantastic feeling. Doing it in front of the Stretford End was unbelievable.

"I want to score more goals for United and it doesn't matter who they are against," he said.

"I know I should score more goals. I feel good scoring against the big teams like Arsenal, Milan and Liverpool, but I want that experience more often."

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