Ji Dong-won

Boss: Door is open for Ji

by Stuart Vose

O'Neill looking for Olympic bounce.

Martin O’Neill has challenged Ji Dong-won to build on his Olympic success and push for more first-team football on Wearside.

The striker won a bronze medal at the London Games with his native South Korea and scored in the Taeguk Warriors’ win over Great Britain in the quarter-finals.

It's a fight now and I'm hoping he's up for the battle

- Martin O'Neill

Dong-won isn’t scheduled to return to the north east until later this month but O’Neill is looking to see the striker brimming with confidence when he links up with the rest of the squad.

“I’m hoping that the Olympic experience has done Ji the world of good,” he said. “I’m sure it has.

“South Korea were quite successful and they’re expecting to reach anything up to the quarter-finals [in any tournament], so good have they become of late.

“I hope he comes back refreshed and ready to go; we’ve given him a little bit of time off after the championships but he’ll be back towards the end of the month to stake his claim for a place.

“It’s up to him, it really is. It’s a fight now and I’m hoping he’s up for the battle.”