did the medical test – I had a look around and it was clear this was the biggest club in the world. I remember it being a really proud moment.
When you arrived in England, was it how you thought it would be?
Before I came here I knew all about Manchester United, that they were the biggest club in the world. Everything is the best, so you can only improve yourself as a person and a player. I expected that to happen, from playing with the world’s best players in training to being involved with matches, it was how I thought it would be.
Was there anything you found particularly difficult or surprising?
The most difficult thing is being away from my family and friends. Other European players can pop home because the flight is only two or three hours long. It’s a long way to my country, which doesn’t help my friends, especially when they can usually only take two weeks off from work. Also, because I play at weekends, and often in the week, I only get two days off here and there, which isn’t enough time for me to go back to Korea. I’m used to it, but it’s hard.
Was the language barrier a big problem for you?
Ruud van Nistelrooy was here when I joined and he had played for PSV, made the same move to United and spoke a language I knew, so being able to talk to him in Dutch helped me feel more comfortable. Still, it is very different learning English in Holland and then coming here and speaking to the natives, especially with all the accents, including the gaffer! Now, I just use English. I’d like the people to speak Korean, but Patrice is the only one who knows any words.
How easy was it to settle in?
I found that the first time I met the players and members of staff, they were very warm towards me. They helped me a lot, so it made it easy to join in and get used to the lifestyle. People were quick to recommend good Chinese and Korean restaurants.