Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Ji Comes in from Cold - and into Shop Window

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Ji Comes in from Cold - and into Shop Window

Article excerpt

Byline: James Hunter Sports writer

JI Dong-Won will come in from the cold for Sunderland's game against Aston Villa this afternoon.

The South Korean striker has not played a single minute - nor even made the bench - since Gus Poyet took charge, but the Black Cats' head coach insists Ji is still in the picture on Wearside.

"I plan to include Ji in the squad for the game against Aston Villa," said Poyet.

"He's an interesting character because he is different from the other strikers we have and the bottom line is that we do not have many options when it comes to attack.

"We have Steven Fletcher and we have Jozy Altidore - we don't know yet about Fabio Borini - but Ji gives us another option.

"And even before Fabio was taken ill, I still had it in my mind to include Ji in my squad against Villa anyway."

Ji has been a huge disappointment in the two-and-a-half years since his PS2m move from Chunnam Dragons.

He has managed just three Premier League starts in that time, although he has also made 20 appearances from the bench with both his goals in England coming as a substitute in his first season with the club.

His return to the squad comes exactly two years since his best moment in a Sunderland shirt, when he scored the Black Cats' injury-time winner against Manchester City at the Stadium of Light on New Year's Day 2012.

The 22-year-old had a successful spell in Germany with strugglers Augsburg last season, scoring five times in 17 appearances to help the club preserve its Bundesliga status.

His performances last season led German side Dortmund to offer PS5m for him in the summer - a bid that, incredibly, was rejected at former Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio's insistence.

Di Canio's decision was all the more baffling as Ji is out of contract at the end of this season, when he will be able to leave Wearside for nothing on a Bosman free transfer. …

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