Megson hails massive role played by blossoming Lee
Bolton manager believes gamble on South Korean has paid off handsomely for club
Thursday 17 December 2009
The Bolton Wanderers manager, Gary Megson, expressed his delight at how Lee Chung-yong is settling into English football after the South Korean's standout performance against West Ham United.
Lee opened the scoring in Wanderers' 3-1 victory at the Reebok Stadium on Tuesday night, finishing off a move he had started in the 64th minute by chipping the ball over Robert Green in the West Ham goal.
The South Korea winger then provided the cross for Gary Cahill's bouncing effort 13 minutes from time which Green failed to hold on to, allowing Ivan Klasnic to bundle home and put Bolton 2-1 ahead.
Lee, who also impressed in the first half against Manchester City on Saturday, has now scored three times since his move from FC Seoul in the summer and Megson believes the 21-year-old is starting to get the recognition he deserves.
"He is getting stronger, his English is getting better and we are absolutely delighted with how he has settled in," Megson said. "He is getting very close to the other players – everybody likes him. He has terrific qualities and he is starting now to get a bit of recognition up and down the country.
"He is getting goals and, hopefully, his confidence will come more and more and he will become a really big player for us. For the risk he took and also we took when we came together, we couldn't be more pleased."
Lee is one of several smaller players in the Bolton side at the moment and Megson admitted that the team were having to compensate for a lack of physical stature.
"People say if you're playing Bolton, you are going to need a big, strong, physical team," Megson said. "Then out we trot Matt Taylor, Lee Chung-yong, Paul Robinson – they are not 6ft 3in between them. We are not a big, strong, physical team. We are trying to alter things a little bit but we don't have the finance to completely change over quickly enough.
"We are scoring more goals. The first goal was terrifically worked and brilliantly taken by Lee, and when you have him in the team, he is going to give you a huge amount in terms of quality and that finishing. He is really bright and has fantastic quality on the ball, but he is not a great, big, strong player who can run all day."
One Bolton player who has height on his side is 6ft 2in defender Cahill, who rounded off the scoring two minutes from time with a towering header for his fifth goal of the season.
Cahill's performances this season have caught the eye of the England manager, Fabio Capello, and Megson acknowledged that the centre-back was developing into more of an all-rounder. "He's a terrific player," said Megson. "One of the things we had to say to him at half-time was that he needs to make sure he doesn't try to do other people's jobs by charging into the middle of the park or hurtling down the right wing.
"He is well capable of it, but we needed to keep our shape and make sure we played from there. But he's a threat in the box, not just with his head. You've seen him score with his left foot, you've seen him score a half-volley with his right foot and the finish from the corner was terrific."
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