And No Gary Cahill Photo.
Afternoon all. It’s Thursday. The international break is almost over. It’s Birmingham on Saturday. Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice.
There’s a rumour that there will soon be another Korean at T’Reebok to introduce Johan Elmander to food he has not yet tasted. Park Chu-Young of Monaco has been a name bandied about for the past couple of days. South Korean international? Check. Haven’t heard of him before? Check. Plays on the wing? Check.
Must be the answer to our wing problems then. Left wing that is, seeing as how Elmander is doing such a good job on the right. I know we had a South Korean playing there before, but his name escapes me right now.
I was always under the impression that Park Ji-Sung was South Korea’s captain, so imagine my surprise when it transpired that this Park was the actual captain. Then it turned out that the older Park had retired after the Asian Cup and the younger Park was installed as captain. Which proves that you can have too many Parks. But don’t tell Dave Cameron or he’ll close half of them down.
Park can also play as a striker. So, can play as a striker and a winger. Someone, somewhere may be preparing for the departure of a certain Swedish striker/winger.
The difficulty with Asian players is just that. They come from Asia. There is a reason why not many of them play in the Premier League and it has nothing to do with the language barrier. Whilst Lee and the elder Park have adapted well and Hidetoshi Nakata had a good couple of months in 2006, you don’t have to go too far into Bolton’s history to Akinori Nishizawa, who spent the vast majority of his time sat in the stands having his photo taken by the Japanese press. Lee took some time to settle in and the elder Park has always been used sparingly by United. Asian players, to be blunt, are just too slight and they have to be able to put up with the, how shall we say, more physical elements of the English game.
Lee Chung-Yong’s feelings on the first time SuperKevinDavies came barrelling towards him in a practice match are not known, but you feel they weren’t happy thoughts. That both he and Park Ji-Sung have settled so well into the game is a credit to them, but an Asian player is a gamble that many clubs can’t take.
So, thank you Gary Megson and his excellent scouting abilities. Who told this man he was a manager?
Elsewhere, large ginger haired net guardian and all round Shaggy from Scooby Doo lookalike, Adam Bogdan, has signed a new three year contract, keeping him at the club until 2014 and giving us some idea as to the goalkeeping pecking order at the club once Wigan go down and Al-Habsi returns to the club.
You wouldn’t expect, especially with Rob Lainton having also signed a new contract recently, that Bogdan or Al will want to be third choice and this is a sign that the club will be happy to cash in on Al-Habsi in the summer. Bogdan is twenty three and by the time his contract runs out he will be nearly twenty seven, about the time that goalkeepers start coming into their prime. It is also about the time that you would be expecting Jussi to be thinking of hanging up his gloves.
Al-Habsi’s performances for a team that will be getting the A-Z out for a trip to Doncaster next season have put other clubs on notice and have moved his price up, regardless of his slip at Citeh. After having a season of first team football, you wouldn’t expect him to be fighting for a place on the bench next season and, at twenty nine years old, he should be playing first team football.
Right, it’s Birmingham on Saturday, in a match that shouldn’t be taken for granted just because we won there in the cup. Birmingham will have some players back who were missing from the quarter final, but, at the same time, Kevin Phillips won’t be scoring a goal like that again anytime soon. Early reports are that Martin Jiranek will be missing from the defence but Lee Bowyer will be back to receive the customary amount of boos from the travelling fans. But more on that tomorrow.
Finally, Big Congratulations to Big Mixu Paatelainen on his appointment as manager of Finland. It is a mystery just why no English club has appointed the original Big Finn as manager, but their loss is his national teams gain and proof, once again, that if you want a good, nay great manager, make sure he played for Bolton first.
Right, I’m off to watch last night’s Midsomer. Which leads me to this non poll question. Tom Barnaby or John Barnarby?