Jong keen to regain killer instinct
"I've been too reserved to shoot because I thought too much about how to use teammates playing around me," said the 26-year-old VfL Bochum frontman, whose side is goalless after two games. "But next time I will force myself to shoot and get a goal for the team. It may go loose or bounce off a defender but it'll be great if it hits the net in the end."
Jong didn't have much game time ahead of the tournament with his German second division club on their winter break and has missed several clear-cut chances in Doha. The North Koreans have so far ground out a scoreless draw with the United Arab Emirates and lost 1-0 to Iran. With Iran having already booked one of the two last-eight spots from Group B, Korea DPR, 1980 semi-finalists, must beat Iraq to reach the knockout round.
"Iraq are basically defensive and I expect them to play more defensively against us because they only need a draw to qualify," said Jong, whose side are playing in their first Asian Cup in 19 years. "I know it won't be easy to pry open the door but we must try."
Dubbed "the People's Wayne Rooney" for his combative style, Jong has scored eight goals for Bochum since moving from his first professional team, J-League side Kawasaki Frontale, after the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Since making his international debut in 2007, he has scored 15 goals in 25 matches. However, Jong was not on target in South Africa as the North lost 2-1 to Brazil before being whitewashed 7-0 and 3-0 by Portugal and Côte d'Ivoire.
"At the World Cup, I played for my own good and failed. I learned a lesson," he said. "I no longer have such an ego after moving to Bochum," added Jong, whose ultimate goal is to play in the English Premier League and the European Champions League. I work all-out for the team and go for goal myself when possible. The order of priorities has changed."