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Football: Park puts Man Utd before country

  • Story Highlights
  • Park Ji-Sung to sit out South Korea's friendly against Paraguay next week
  • Park will stay with Manchester United in lead up to new Premier League season
  • Winger Park set to pay key role for the English champions this season
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(CNN) -- Manchester United star Park Ji-Sung has opted to stay with the English Premier League champions rather than play for South Korea in a friendly against Paraguay on August 12.

Park was a key player as South Korea qualified for the 2010 World Cup finals.

Park was a key player as South Korea qualified for the 2010 World Cup finals.

Park had already returned to his club's pre-season training late after helping his country to qualify for the World Cup finals in South Africa next year.

Had he traveled back to Seoul for the friendly, Park may well have been out of the running for United's opening two fixtures against newly-promoted sides Birmingham and Burnley.

Coach Hugh Jung-Moo decided not to call up his star player as he recognized the importance of the situation.

"There is a full list of fixtures and [Manchester United] have made new signings so the start of the season is very important for Park," he was quoted on the official FIFA Web site.

United have been busy in pre-season with a tour of Asia followed by their participation in the Audi Cup this weekend, where they lost out to Bayern Munich on penalties in the final.

Alex Ferguson's men take on Valencia in a friendly at Old Trafford on Wednesday with reported United transfer targets David Villa and David Silva both set to play for the Spanish Primera side.

Next up for United will be a meeting with FA Cup holders Chelsea in the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday.

The England players in their squad, including Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand and Michael Carrick, will then likely be required for the friendly against the Netherlands next week before United open their league campaign against Birmingham on August 15.

Park established himself as a regular member of United's starting lineup last season and played in the Champions League final defeat to Barcelona in Rome in May.

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