talkSPORT host Tony Cascarino has dismissed Wayne Rooney’s claims that Park Ji-sung was ‘almost as important’ as Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United.
In his weekly column for The Sunday Times, the Old Trafford icon claimed Park’s work rate embodied the strong team ethic of Sir Alex Ferguson’s side and was just as pivotal to their success as Ronaldo’s goals and skill.
Park spent seven seasons with United between 2005 and 2012, winning four Premier League titles, three League Cups and the Champions League during his time in Manchester.
But it was Rooney, Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez who earned all the plaudits for United’s success as they scored goals and bullied defences week in, week out.
Rooney wrote: “It’s crazy but if you mentioned Cristiano Ronaldo to a 12-year-old, they would immediately say, ‘Yeah, he was a brilliant player for Manchester United’, but if you said ‘Park Ji-sung’ they may not know who he was.
“Yet all of us who played with Park know he was almost as important to our success.
“That’s because of what Park gave to the collective and I want to talk about teams. They — not stars — are the most important thing in sport.”
And despite admitting Park did have a crucial role at the club, former Chelsea forward Cascarino has rubbished Rooney’s claims and said Park could have been replaced pretty easily by Man United – unlike Ronaldo and Rooney.
Speaking about Rooney’s article, Casc told talkSPORT’s Weekend’s Sports Breakfast: “If that was the case, when Rooney was going for his new contract, why didn’t he ask for the same money as Park Ji-sung and Darren Fletcher?
“Rooney and Ronaldo are very hard to get and that’s why they make the most money. They make the difference.
“You can go and get players who have done a job for you; just look at John O’Shea, Park and Fletcher – there are a number of them who could do a really good job.
“And I’m not undermining them, but that was their job in that team. Man United had the icing on the cake with certain players that you cannot get anywhere.
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“If you play for Man United you’re a very, very good footballer, that’s for sure; but there’s a difference between them and Ronaldo. You can’t go and find a Ronaldo unless you play a king’s ransom.“
“If you’re speaking to owners about signing new contracts, you’ll be on a certain rate because of what you are – a player that can be let go easily because another player can do that.”
Watch a clip of Tony Cascarino on talkSPORT, above…