KI SUNG-YEUNG has already caught the eye of Gus Poyet, even though the South Korean is unable to play a part in the new Sunderland head coach’s Premier League bow.
On-loan Swansea midfielder Ki is ineligible to face his parent club at the Liberty Stadium today after starting all five of Sunderland’s games since arriving at the Stadium of Light.
Poyet has been forced to plan his opening game in charge without Ki, although he only met the 24-year-old for the first time yesterday anyway after he returned from international duty.
But the new Black Cats boss has been impressed by the footage he has seen of Ki, who will be in the frame for a recall in next weekend’s Wear-Tyne derby.
Poyet told the Echo: “I really like him.
“Of course, I would have liked him to help us against Swansea on the defensive side of things.
“But I haven’t even trained with him, so I can’t say he’s going to be one player or another.
“I’m just trying to accept things at the moment.
“That’s the situation (that Ki is unavailable) so let’s just go and play.”
Ki, along with international team-mate Ji Dong-won, only reported for duty at the Academy of Light yesterday after making the 5,500 mile trip from South Korea, following Tuesday’s friendly with Mali.
Former Uruguay international Poyet knows from personal experience the draining effects of long-haul flights to feature on the international stage.
And he suggested that it would have been a tough-ask for Ki to start tomorrow’s game, even if he had been available.
“It’s not easy,” aded Poyet.
“I remember it happening to me when I was playing and I wouldn’t arrive back in England until Friday morning.
“How can you ask the manager to play you at 3pm on a Saturday after that?
“Depending on where you are playing in the world, it might take you a day-and-a-half to get back.”