Around the World: South Korea and the Barclays Premier League

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Thursday 12 June 2014

Around the World: South Korea and the Barclays Premier League

Ahead of the FIFA 2014 World Cup, a look at the influence South Koreans have had on BPL

We take a look at the influence of players from South Korea on the Barclays Premier League

Ahead of the FIFA 2014 World Cup, which starts on 12 June, looks at the 31 nations outside of England who are competing in Brazil and their influence on the Barclays Premier League.

South Korea, who are in Group H with Algeria, Belgium and Russia, are Asia’s most frequent participants in the World Cup finals, after qualifying for their eighth successive tournament. The Taeguk Warriors had never won a World Cup finals match until the 2002 event they co-hosted, when they staged a remarkable run to the semi-finals, by overcoming Italy and Spain before succumbing to Germany. Last time out in South Africa they reached the knockout stage for the first time on foreign soil before being eliminated by Uruguay.

Two players who played in the Barclays Premier League last season are in South Korea's 23-man squad with midfielder Kim Bo-kyung making 28 appearances for Cardiff City last season, scoring one goal. Ki Sung-yueng is on the books of Swansea City but the midfielder spent last season on loan at Sunderland, where he made a telling contribution with 27 appearances to help the Black Cats steer clear of relegation. Forward Park Chu-young has struggled to win a place in the Arsenal side, making one BPL appearance over his three seasons at Emirates Stadium. He was loaned to Championship side Watford in January and will leave the north London club when his contract expires this summer. Yun Suk-young, the left-back, will be hoping to play in the Barclays Premier League for the the 2014/15 season, with newly promoted Queens Park Rangers.

The most successful South Korean to play in the Barclays Premier League was the first. Park Ji-sung signed for Manchester United from PSV Eindhoven in 2005 and made his league debut for the Red Devils the following month. He also became the first South Korean to score in the English top flight in April 2006 and helped United win four Barclays Premier League titles, becoming the most decorated Asian player in the history of the competition. The midfielder moved to Queens Park Rangers, where he was made captain and racked up a further 20 top-flight appearances to take his tally to 154 – the most by a player from South Korea. Park, who is also the leading South Korean goalscorer in the BPL with 19 goals, retired last month but was a trailblazer for his fellow countrymen, 10 of whom have followed in his footsteps to play in the Barclays Premier League.

Former Tottenham Hotspur full-back Lee Young-pyo amassed the second-most BPL appearances, with 70 appearances for the north Londoners, while Lee Chung-yong is second in the scorers' list with seven top-flight goals for Bolton Wanderers. Like Park Ji-sung, Seol Ki-hyeon also impressed at the 2002 World Cup, scoring against Italy in the round of 16 and earning a move to Reading in 2006 from Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers. Seol helped the newly promoted side to eighth place in his first season with them and also played for Fulham.

  • Park Ji-Sung is the most decorated Asian player in Barclays Premier League history

  • Lee Young-pyo boasts the second-most BL appearances by a South Korean

  • Lee Chung-yong won Bolton's Player of the Year award in his debut season

  • Seol Ki-hyeon enjoyed spells in the BPL with Reading and Fulham

  • Ki Sung-yeung impressed last season while on loan at Sunderland from Swansea


South Koreans in the Barclays Premier League
Total players in BPL history 11
Total BPL appearances 493
Total BPL goals 37

First South Korean to play in the Barclays Premier League
Park Ji-sung
- Manchester United (v Everton, 13 August, 2005)

Top 10 BPL appearances by South Koreans
Park Ji-sung
Lee Young-pyo
Lee Chung-yong
Ki Sung-yeung
Seol Ki-hyeon
Kim Bo-kyung
Ji Dong-won
Lee Dong-gook
Kim Do-heon
Cho Won-hee

First South Korean to score in the Barclays Premier League

Park Ji-sung - Manchester United (v Arsenal, 9 April, 2006)

Top South Korean goalscorers in BPL
Park Ji-sung 19
Lee Chung-yong 7
Seol Ki-hyeon 5
Ki Sung-yeung 3
Ji Dong-won 2
Kim Bo-kyung 1

South Korea's 23-man World Cup squad

Goalkeepers: Jung Sung-ryong (Suwon Bluewings), Kim Seung-gyu (Ulsan Hyundai), Lee Bum-young (Busan I'Park).
Defenders: Hong Jeong-ho (Augsburg), Hwang Seo-ho (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Kim Chang-soo (Kashiwa Reysol), Kim Young-gwon (Guangzhou Evergrande), Kwak Tae-hwi (Al Hilal), Lee Yong (Ulsan Hyundai), Yun Suk-young (Queens Park Rangers), Park Joo-ho (Mainz).
Midfielders: Ha Dae-sung (Beijing Guoan), Han Kook-young (Kashiwa Reysol), Ji Dong-won (Augsburg), Ki Sung-yueng (Swansea), Kim Bo-kyung (Cardiff City), Lee Chung-yong (Bolton Wanderers), Park Jong-woo (Guangzhou R&F), Son Heung-min (Bayer Leverkusen).
Forwards: Kim Shin-wook (Ulsan Hyundai), Koo Ja-cheol (Mainz), Lee Keun-ho (Sangju Sangmu), Park Chu-young (Arsenal).

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Key Points

  • Ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup we look at the influence of players from 31 participating nations outside England on the BPL
  • Last in series looks at players from South Korea in the Barclays Premier League
  • Park Ji-sung was the first South Korean to appear and score in the BPL and also boasts the most BPL appearances of his fellow countrymen