It says a lot about Ji-sung Park’s growing importance for United that when Sir Alex Ferguson revealed his side for last season’s Champions League final, the Korean’s omission was perhaps the biggest surprise.
The winger had been one of the Reds’ stand-out players in the semi-final win over Barcelona and had been widely tipped to retain his place against Chelsea in what has become something of a specialist role.
Even by modern football standards, Park’s fitness levels are impressive. His capacity for scampering up and down the wing for 90 minutes earned him the nickname ‘Oxygen Tank’ at PSV, where he played for two years before joining United in 2005.
“Park never stops running. Every time he plays he puts in a great shift and works his socks off – he is very dependable,” enthuses former Red Mickey Thomas, an indefatigable midfielder himself during his Old Trafford days, and now an MUTV pundit.
“He’s not the biggest of players but he’s not scared to put a challenge in. He reminds me of a pinball machine because he’s always bouncing off everybody!”