Manchester United's Park Ji-Sung didn't appear in last week's Champions League final against Chelsea, and he is not guaranteed to be in South Korea's starting line-up on Saturday.
The Koreans face Jordan in Seoul as their Asian World Cup qualifying campaign resumes, and manager Huh Jung-Moo said he will go with players he deems to be in the best form, regardless of their reputations.
“Whether it's a domestic league player or an overseas-based veteran, I will go with players in top form,” Huh said.
“And the same goes for Park Ji-Sung. If he doesn't look great in practice, he will not play.”
Park took the comments in his stride.
“You have to battle for your job on any team,” he said. “Wherever I am asked to play, I am ready to make necessary adjustments.”
Aside from Park, Korea's 25-man roster includes six players who ply their trade overseas.
They are Lee Young-Pyo of Tottenham Hotspur, Seol Ki-Hyeon of Fulham and Kim Do-Heon of West Brom in England; FC Samara's Oh Beom-Seok and Zenit St. Petersburg's Kim Dong-Jin in Russia; and Kim Nam-Il of Vissel Kobe in Japan.
“We need these players to step up,” Huh said. “I know they've had plenty of rest to get ready.”
The Jordan match is the third game for South Korea on the road to South Africa in 2010 as they seek to make the finals for the seventh straight time.
Huh said he rated Jordan, who are led by Portugese manager Martinho Vingada, as the strongest team in their group.
“It wouldn't be an overstatement to say it is the strongest team in our group,” he said.
“Individual players are outstanding in technique and possess problem-solving abilities. They are a team to be reckoned with.”
So far, South Korea have beaten Turkmenistan 4-0 and drawn with North Korea 0-0. The two Koreas are tied on four points in Group 3, but the South leads with an edge in goal difference (4 to 0).
The Jordan match kicks off a series of four games over a 22-day period for South Korea, who travel to Jordan on June 7 and then Turkmenistan on June 14. They return home to face the North on June 22.
“We have four matches ahead in a row,” Huh said. “Teamwork will get better as we play these matches. We'll also show our best form by minimizing fatigue as we travel long distances.”
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