Blue Dragon fires again

First published in Sport The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , sports writer

THE Chinese calendar may just have entered the year of the Snake but for Wanderers’ Korean winger, Chung-Yong Lee, it is all about the year of the “Blue Dragon”.

The 24-year-old, whose nickname is the English translation of his name, is back playing regularly for the Whites after a horrible pre-season leg break against Newport County saw him sidelined for virtually the whole of the last campaign, returning for the final two matches in May.

And he is determined to make up for lost time after 28 appearances this season.

After setting up Saturday’s equaliser for Craig Davies against Burnley, his influence on the team is there for all to see.

Indeed, he has also weighed in with five goals this season and his form has been such that there was talk of interest from Stoke City in the January transfer window.

It came to nothing, though, and he remains contracted to the Whites for two more years.

And with just one loss for the club when he has got his name on to the scoresheet – at Middlesbrough earlier this season – boss Dougie Freedman will hope he can score a few more before the camapign is done.

For the Korean, the main thing is getting a consistent level of performance back.

He said: “It feels good to be back and I am really enjoying playing regular football.

“When I originally made my first-team return it took me some time to get up to the speed of the game.

“Now that there is no more pain in my leg from the injury, I feel that I can be getting better and better with every game I play.

“The more games I play the more confident I feel and I believe that I can continue to develop and reach higher levels than before my injury.”

Being back playing is huge for the man voted Player of the Year by fans and team-mates alike in 2010.

It means less time to kill at home for one where he used to play computer games with friend and Korean international colleague Ji-Sung Park before he left Manchester United for QPR last summer.

Lee is happy to have swapped the virtual football off the pitch that kept him busy last season for the real McCoy again and recently passed the 100-appearance milestone.

He marked it with a goal in a 2-2 home FA Cup third round draw with Sunderland.

Lee added: “I used to play games with Park a lot when he was at Manchester United.

“We didn’t play FIFA though, it was a football game called Winning Eleven on the PS2.

“He was very good. We don’t play as much since he moved to QPR.

“Last season also I would play a lot with Ryo Miyaichi and always I would win!

“It was a very difficult time not only in my career, but also my life. It has been really difficult to be away from football for such a long time.

“Personally, it was a very hard time for me as I was unable to do what I love. But that time has gone and I am now just looking forward.

“I just try to forget about that whole injury.

“It was an unfortunate part of my career and it was a challenging period for me, but now I am determined to just concentrate on getting better and continuing to improve my game now that I am back fit and playing regularly.”

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