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Mowbray building his jigsaw around Ki Sung-Yeung

22 Feb 2010 15:21:20

Mowbray building his jigsaw around Ki Sung-Yeung

At this stage Tony Mowbray doesn't want to place too much expectation on the shoulders of Ki Sung-Yeung, the Asian Young Footballer of the Year, but, having said that, the Celtic boss fully expects the South Korean international to become the key playmaker in his side. Ki - Key player in Tony Mowbray's plansKi Sung-Yeung's family have spent the last three weeks helping the youngster settle into Glasgow but now that they've returned to Korea it will be up to Celtic's player liaison department to look after the 20-year old midfielder's welfare. Celtic manager Tony Mowbray remembers all too well his own arrival in the city as a player back in 1991 and he's delighted that new arrivals now have dedicated support from within the club ."I know what it's like when you move to another country." said Mowbray. "I can remember spending eight months in a hotel when I signed for Celtic. The Forte Crest Hotel, seventh floor. I remember it vividly. You're staring at the same four walls every day and every night, the same burger and chips off the menu for tea every night. People don't realise it can be a hard situation to be in.""With someone like Ki we have a liaison guy who's young himself and if he picks up on anything involving the new guys he's there to help." he said. "We support the players with the things you'd expect, like sorting out driving licences and bank accounts for them. If he needs to know where to buy a TV or a car, it's all there for them. You never like to think of them sitting on their own, but there's a Korean Church in the city and I think Ki's found friends there and I'm sure they're looking after him. I only live round the corner from him too, so he's more than welcome to come and watch the football with me if he wants!""He's an intelligent young guy and he's a top footballer of the quality we require and demand at this football club." continued the boss. "He's 20 years old and I'm conscious of not trying to burden him with being the one having to play killer passes and control the match, but somewhere along the line he will undoubtedly do that for us. He could do it now. I've left him out for a few games, but his talent will dictate that he plays more than he doesn't for us.""When you speak to him you can detect a maturity and intelligence there, which is down to the education he's had." said the manager. "Sometimes communicating can be a big problem with non-English speaking players but he's okay on that front. However, he's delicate in years emotionally. There's been days he's played and the team hasn't won and he's taken it harder than he should as an individual.""But his talent will warrant him playing a lot." he added. "It's just a matter of trying to put the pieces of the jigsaw in place around him so he can flourish. The thing that has pleasantly surprised me about him is that he's surpassed what I thought he'd do on the physical side. He has applied himself better to that part of the game in Scotland than I thought he'd be able to when I watched him play for Korea against Denmark in a game a few months ago.""That was the same game I watched Morten Rasmussen in." said Mowbray. "And after that game it was a case of 'Let's do the deal'. Ki was probably on the radar at the club even before I arrived. People knew he was Asia's Young Player of the Year and he was an international footballer when he was in his teens. I know there are situations over work permits with some players, but you want people to be able to watch players with talent and I think he fits into that category. Maybe if he'd been 18 years old it would have been difficult to make a case for him trying to light up the league, but he'd played for the national team."Mowbray stressed that Ki's fluency in English was also a major factor in the final decision to bring him to the club. "It doesn't matter to me where they're from, what matters is them having a grasp of the language." said the boss. "I found that important with one potential signing. With flair players and forwards it doesn't matter so much, but defenders have to be able to communicate and organise. What I do think is important is that clubs have a core of players aware of the history of the place."When I first came I thought it was important not to, regardless of talent or lack of talent, let a personality go that would have been crucial in our dressing room." concluded Mowbray. "I was keen to find who was a strong personality, who could influence some of these young guys. As you move on, we've looked at some British-based players, Scots, Irish and English, to keep a core understanding of the expectation and demands at this club."


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