Coach predicts Dong Gook Lee's England success

Gareth Southgate predicts Middlesbrough new boy Dong Gook Lee will make a massive impression in the English Premier League and claimed his club's only January signing was "the number one name in South Korea". Lee will become the fourth South Korean to play in the English top-flight, following in the footsteps of Manchester United's Park Ji-Sung, Reading's Seol Ki-Hyeon and Tottenham's Lee Young-Pyo. The striker, who has signed an 18-month deal, boasts 22 goals in 64 international appearances for South Korea. And while he missed last summer's World Cup finals with a cruciate ligament injury, Southgate insists Lee has the potential to become his country's greatest footballing export.

Lee, who is nicknamed "The Lion King" in his homeland because of his uncompromising approach on the field, is no stranger to the European game. He endured a difficult loan spell at German side Werder Bremen at the start of his career, but returned to his homeland after failing to adapt to life in the Bundesliga. And after failing to prove himself in Europe once before, the South Korean striker is determined to learn from his previous mistakes. "This time, I feel I am much better prepared," Lee told media. "In Germany, I did not prepare myself for the move well and I suffered from language problems. "I have learned a great deal from that experience and I'm sure that is going to be a good thing for me. Middlesbrough have given me a massive opportunity and shown a lot of faith in me - now I want to repay them by proving what I can do."

While Southgate insists Lee has arrived for purely footballing reasons, the presence of 30-or-so South Korean journalists at Rockliffe Park yesterday underlined the immense marketing potential that Middlesbrough will be keen to exploit. Chief executive Keith Lamb helped to arrange the acquisition of both Juninho and Paul Gascoigne, but even he has been shocked by the frenzied response to Lee's arrival. "We're always looking to expand the marketing of the club and we know there's a tremendous interest in the Premier League in Asia.I'd be delighted if we started to see young South Korean boys and girls running around in Middlesbrough shirts, but that's not why Dong Gook is here."

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