Koo targets move to Europe

Versatile Korea Republic midfielder Koo Ja-Cheol has emerged as one of the stars of the AFC Asian Cup and the 21-year-old is eyeing a move to either England or Spain.

The highly ambitious Koo has excelled in a central role, scoring four goals in three games, with the Jeju United youngster, courted by Blackburn Rovers last year, hoping his efforts get noticed by leading European clubs.

"My dream is to become one of the top players in the world and to achieve that dream, going to Europe is part of my plan," Koo told the Asian Cup website. "I would like to go to England or Spain or one of the other major European countries.

"Whichever league I go to, I'm sure I won't have too many problems adjusting and the most important thing is which team I go to, not so much the league.

My dream is to become one of the top players in the world and to achieve that dream, going to Europe is part of my plan.
Koo Ja-Cheol, Korea Republic midfielder

"I am always trying to be positive and I don't worry about any kind of cultural barriers or being away from home. I don't worry about that kind of thing at all; I'm the kind of player who enjoys challenges."

Koo has been earning plaudits throughout the last 12 months as he played a leading role in Jeju finishing runners-up in the K-League to qualify for the AFC Champions League for the first time.

At club level he has played from a position deep in midfield, but South Korean coach Cho Kwang-Rae instead chose to push him further into the attack in Doha. The move has paid dividends for Koo and his team, who face Iran in the quarter-finals on Saturday.

"When I heard that instruction from the coach for the first time, I started to think this might be a new chance for me to play a major role in the team for many games," said Koo.

"I wasn't given any special instructions, so that made me realise that this was the coach's intention, for me to show everyone what I'm capable of doing. Playing further forward than I'm used to doing means I have to be more offensive and be brave enough to try something new."

Experience is helping
Korea Republic have brought a promising new generation of young players to Qatar, but they also have the experience of people like Manchester United's Park Ji-Sung, and Koo said their presence has been a huge help.

"It is because the senior players like Ji-Sung and the older players are supporting the younger players on and off the field, so they make the young boys much more comfortable when it comes to normal life and in the matches," he said.

"It's a great help for the young generation when it comes to finding their place in the national team. It's a very good experience for me and it will be a great help for my career in the future."