Tuesday, September 18, 2007

David Shin: Young Korean Woking And Winging His Way To Success

Woking Winger David Shin
Alan Shearer spent over a decade at the top of the English Premier League goalscoring charts famously fuelled by a diet of chicken and baked beans. David Shin is just starting out much further down the league ladder but the 18 year-old shares something in common with the ex-England captain and the average UK citizen, who, according to the BBC eat more than 15 pounds of beans each year. “I like beans so much,” laughed Shin down the 'phone.

If the tinned food helps the Seoul-born Shin have half the success that Shearer had, he, and his family, based in London’s ‘Koreatown’ of New Malden will be delighted.

Inevitably known as ‘Shinny’ by his Woking FC team-mates, the player is starting to show his homeland that English football isn’t just about Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. The lower leagues in England contain dozens of historic football clubs and the teenager is currently playing for Woking FC in what is commonly known as ‘The Conference’ –England’s ‘fifth division’.

August 27 saw the winger, who arrived in England five years ago and spent two years as a trainee with Fulham before joining Woking’s youth academy, make his first-team debut. Coming on as a second-half substitute with his team 2-0 down at Salisbury, Shin couldn’t help his team save the game but at least contributed to a more respectable 2-1 scoreline.

“I was so pleased that I came on second half which was my debut,” Shin said. “I helped the team to win in the second half but we lost 2-1 overall. I actually believed that i could change the game and I think I helped to do so but of course, I could have played better.”

Woking may be down in the nether regions of the English league pyramid but over 2,000 spectators witnessed the club’s new star make his debut in the historic cathedral city.

“The atmosphere was great,” said Shin. “Salisbury’s fans were great and there were a few of our fans there who cheered when I came on. At half time, the coach said to me: ‘You are playing on the left side, do your best’, that was it really."

As one of the finest full-backs in English football in the seventies, Woking coach Frank Gray knows a thing or two about what makes a good winger and the former Leeds United star, who played in the 1975 European Cup final, likes the look of his Korean prospect.

“He has good ability, likes to take people on and likes to get forward,” Gray told me in a telephone interview and added, “Technically he is very good. He has excellent energy and fitness levels. We are very happy with him and he has a good future if he keeps working hard.”

“We are not looking for promotion at the moment, this is a transitional period for the club and we have lots of young players like David coming through so we need to be patient. We are looking to build something for the future but it will take a little time.”

Time is something that Shin has and just as importantly, he possesses a willingness to learn and a desire to improve. All are necessary if he is to climb the ladder to the Premier League pinnacle that is his stated target.

“I am looking to continue progressing and work harder and the chance to play at higher levels. My aim is to play in the Premiership and I have to work harder," the teenager acknowledged.

Playing at the conference level is no picnic; there are thousands of talented young players who never reach that standard. But Shin wants to go further still and having already met his hero off the pitch, there is a chance that he could meet Lee Young-pyo on it.

“I met Lee Young-pyo twice and he talked to me and gave me advice,” said Shin of the Tottenham star. Despite the presence of Lee in London, Shin, like masses of his compatriots, supports a certain team from the north of England –Manchester United. Park Ji-sung often plays on the wings for the English champions but Shin believes he has more in common with one of Argentina’s finest players.

“People say I am similar to Lionel Messi,” he said. “I have quick feet and am fast. I use both feet.”

Keep both eyes open for David Shin.

Copyright: John Duerden & Soccerphile.com

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