JI DONG-WON’S first goal in English football will have done his confidence a world of good, says Sunderland’s assistant manager Eric Black.
And Black predicts it will be the first of many after the South Korean international opened his account in the 3-0 win at Darlington in Wednesday’s pre-season friendly.
“It’s always difficult when you’re coming from another country and his language is not fantastic yet, but he’s certainly understanding things,” said the Scot.
“He’s a bright lad, who takes things on board quickly and the way he has come on in pre-season has been a real positive.
“He’s hit the ground running.”
Steve Bruce and Black have not enjoyed a great deal of success with overseas acquisitions since arriving at the Stadium of Light – Asamoah Gyan and Stephane Sessegnon being notable exceptions.
But Black hopes that in Ji, Sunderland have another potential star.
“It’s difficult to gauge how quickly a player will settle in,” he said.
“We’ve had players from South America and from other countries in Europe and we’ve had experience of working with Korean players – we had one at Wigan.
“I’ve got to be honest, their discipline and desire to do things properly and their work ethic is second to none. That ensures they integrate an awful lot quicker – and that has been the case with Ji.
“He’s a good player and a good player to play with as a striker because he takes the load off and does his work. He’ll run down the sides and work defenders.
“The midfield players like him and the other strikers will like him because he does that workload which is the hard part of the game and has the qualities to cause people problems.”