Park may miss Olympics
South Korea Under-23 coach Park Sung-hwa has admitted he may not select Park Ji-sung for Beijing.
Last Updated: 04/06/08 5:08pm
South Korea Under-23 coach Park Sung-hwa has admitted he may not select Park Ji-sung for the Olympic Games.
The Manchester United midfielder was included in Park Sung-hwa's initial 40-man squad in April and it was thought that he would be one of the three 'over-age' players in Beijing.
However, Park Sung-hwa has now conceded that he may be forced to reconsider because he does not want to put his country's star player in a difficult situation at Manchester United.
Gabriel Heinze incurred Sir Alex Ferguson's wrath when he lined up for Argentina in Athens four years ago and if Park Ji-sung travels to China it could prove just as unpopular with the United boss.
The Olympics clash with the start of the Premier League season and South Korea also have four World Cup qualifiers to play later in the summer.
Park Sung-hwa told the Korea Times: "Ji-sung is not as established as a Cristiano Ronaldo and not in a position where he has a strong opinion about a move that could stand against the club's interest.
"The Olympic tournament overlaps with the opening of the new Premier League season and joining the team in Beijing would require a lot of sacrifices on his part.
"We also need to consider his participation in the month-long World Cup qualifiers and the Manchester United training camp."
Park Ji-sung acknowledges that he cannot make the decision but believes it will be difficult for him either way.
"That's not something I can decide myself," he said.
"If I play in the Olympics, I'll be able to help the juniors exempted from military service by winning a medal.
"Or if stay with Manchester United, I'll be able to devote myself to preparing for the next season. Whatever happens, there will be something I have to give up."