Manchester United legend Ji-sung Park is back in English football to launch his coaching career at Queens Park Rangers.
The former United midfielder, who kept grounded after retiring by becoming a postgraduate student at De Montfort University’s award-winning FIFA Master International MA in Management, Law and Humanities of Sport, has now taken charge of the U16 side at QPR.
Park has taken the opportunity to work under QPR’s head of coaching Chris Ramsey. It’s a good place to start (not everyone gets the ‘jobs for the lads’ treatment at United) and hopefully the start of a good career in coaching for the South Korean.
Speaking to QPR’s official website, Park said: “Having played for QPR I am really interested to see how they develop their younger players. I have learnt lots from the players as well as the coaches.
“I have been surprised at how enthusiastic Chris is towards football and particularly towards the youth levels.
“It is not normal to see someone who is involved with the first team, like Chris is, so involved with the whole youth system. It has been really impressive to see.
“You can see his philosophy which is brilliant. It all takes time but when the process is doing well, the club benefit long-term from it. I have learnt a lot of things from him.
“Chris has lots of experience and I see how he listens to people.
“He listens to opinions and then makes his own decision based on the best way he can influence players. That is why he has such a good reputation as a coach.
“It has surprised me how much I have learnt. It is not just about your skill or ability, it is about your mentality too.
“People might think being a coach is quite similar to being a player. For me, I have realised it is totally different. It is not just about tactics, it is everything – leadership, communication, how you can influence every single player.
“When I look at Asia or South Korea, administration needs improving compared to Europe and I will look that way.”
The QPR youth players will be learning from a four-time Premier League winner, who can also boast a Champions League winners medal from 2008.
Park played 134 matches for United and scored 19 goals. He was seen a seen as a cult hero during his time at the club, but also as one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s most trusted players.
It will be a completely new experience for Park, but at the same time he has so much offer from the experience he had as a professional footballer.
QPR have gained a fantastic role model too, which they will know already from his previous spell at the club.