He is the youngest of Korea’s 23 World Cup players.
It is his World Cup debut. That’s why “Football Genius” Park Ju-young is more excited than anyone else. Park is receiving overwhelming interest ahead of the stage of his dreams. The Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) has added his name, along with Wayne Rooney (England) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), to the list of nominees for Best Young Player at the World Cup in Germany. Europe’s major sports betting businesses are also predicting Park as the striker who will score the most goals on the Korean team.
The spotlight seems to have fired him up, as Park is on a sharp upward trend, with one goal and two assists in three tryout matches, before stepping onto the major stage. More than anything, his two straight assists have been viewed as refreshing. Although there was a chance to find the goal net himself, Park showed a mature attitude by passing the ball to his team member who was in a position to clinch the shot. The way he made the opposing team’s defense players benchmark him in order for his fellow team player to gain space was also eye-catching.
Park Ju-young is a born striker-
At the time that he first started football in the fourth grade at Daegu Banyawol Elementary School, he led his team to a six to zero victory by scoring all six goals. His experience as a national youth representative was all razzle-dazzle. At the 2004 Malaysia Asia Youth Championship, he swept the Best Scorer Award and the Most Valuable Player Award by scoring six of the 11 goals that Korea made. Last year, at the Netherlands World Youth Championships, he received recognition for potential as a world star, and in that year he recorded an amazing score of 18 goals and four assists in the Korean K-League.
The key to his goal hunting is his ability to take on all attacking positions, starting from the left, right wing forward to the middle forefront striker, or the fallback striker.
Where there’s light, there’s also darkness. Park has also had his bit of distress.
Any top sports star is bound to suffer from the unkind attention of people who scrutinize him almost as if he is being peered at from a microscope. Park was not an exception. Especially at the overseas training camp at the beginning of this year, he showed signs of a slump and had to accept cutting remarks such as, “he still has a long way to go.” It is true that he brought this criticism on himself by avoiding aggressive action and taking to passive play. Park had a hard time with such public sentiment, but accepted it as growing pains to move a step further.
At the recent overseas training session, Dick Advocaat had Park wear a yellow vest, which is for key players, hinting that he should keep his balance. But, there is a better chance that he will set out as a “joker” rather than as a key player. Whether he is a starting player or a shifting player doesn’t seem to be that important. The only moment that is significant is when he is taking in heavy breaths while running on the field. All he needs to do is score goals, provide assists, beat past the opposing team’s defense and make sure that Park Ju-young’s presence is known. As he does that, Korea’s second World Cup miracle will come closer.
Park Ju-young also said at his overseas training camp in Scotland, “The first thing is to score, the second is to assist and the ultimate purpose is our team’s victory.” When he achieves such goals, his advance into the big leagues will likely receive a green light. In Chinese characters, Park Ju-young’s name Ju means head or master, while Young stands for “long or eternity.” Being a devout Christian, his name holds meaning that the Lord’s glory lasts forever. His many fans have yet another interpretation. It is that the name means the desire to go on a long run as a football player star representing Korea. The World Cup in Germany will be that starting point.