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Transfer Profile: Jung Woo-jae

Jeju United have made a move, to improve their back line, by bringing in Jung Woojae on a free transfer from Daegu FC. The 26 year old, who primarily plays as a right back, is also capable of playing on either flank, in midfield. He played in 102 matches for his former club, scoring five goals and adding eleven assists. He is, however, currently in rehabilitation following surgery for an ACL injury last November. KLU's Branko Belan sat down with Daegu FC columnist, Muyeol Jung, to learn more about Jeju's new acquisition.
(Image via Jeju-utd.com)


How was he viewed at Daegu FC?  What was the perception of him league wide?

Jung Woojae was barely known to many K League fans until he joined Daegu FC, ahead of the 2016 season, after a one-year spell in Chungju. Back in 2011, he started off his career with Zweigen Kanazawa, a fourth tier side in Japan, where he wasted an entire year and a half without any playing time before he suddenly joined the University League in Korea, in 2013. Afterwards, he luckily transferred to Seongnam FC, where he, unfortunately, only played twice, due to the team's poor form. 

He revealed in an interview, with Daegu, that his offer from the club was the first professional offer he had received from any football club in his career. This is very surprising considering his performances with the Sky Blues for the last three years.

During this time, he was one of the key players and was always named first on the starting list unless he was injured or suspended. He not only featured more than 100 times in a Daegu shirt (37 games in 2016, 33 games in 2017, and 32 games in 2018), but Jung also had the honor of being selected as the best defender in K League 2, in 2016.

For Daegu fans, he will always be remembered as a very diligent and energetic player on both sides of his game. He was also nicknamed “bison” because of these characteristics.

What are the strongest aspects of his game?

The strongest aspects in his game undoubtedly include a high work rate, versatility, and superb dribbling. He rarely gets tired during a match, and maintains his energy for the full ninety minutes.  During the 2018 season, when fixtures were severely busy and in adverse weather, he was only rested three times, in cup games, until he picked up an injury.

Moreover, he can play on both sides, as wing back and winger, with diagonal dribbling. He likes to dribble inside at pace.

Does he have any weaknesses?

The major weakness he has is his accuracy. He occasionally shows off good crossing and mid-range shots, however, in general, crossing is considered as his weakness. There is also a question mark over how well he will recover after knee surgery due to an ACL injury.

What were his reasons for leaving?

The reason why he left Daegu remains unclear, but apparently, Daegu FC want every player to be 100% ready at the beginning of the new season, in order not to repeat the disaster they experienced before the World Cup break in 2018.

Particularly, this year, Daegu FC are preparing for the Asian Champions League and they will be playing in a new football stadium as well. As a result, the board seems to have decided to exchange Jung Woojae with Jung Taewook for a better start to the 2019 season.

Where do you think he would be best utilized with Jeju United?

He will fit perfectly on both sides as wing back in Jeju. However, given Jeju United have a quite strong right back, in Park Jin-po, then Jung will likely play on left side. In some circumstances, he will also able to switch roles with Park.

What should Jeju fans expect from him?

I feel sorry for Jeju fans, but they will have to wait to see him play in an orange shirt, as he is still in rehab after knee surgery last November. He told the press during the 2018 K League Awards, that he was aiming to return from injury by mid-April at the earliest.

Once he is back in action, he will give Jeju more energy and dynamism on each flank, moving back and forth.

What was his best moment in Daegu?

One of his best moments with Daegu was undoubtedly in August 2018 against Gangwon FC. In a 3-1 win over Gangwon, he helped the team with two assists thanks to his tireless performance and diagonal dribbling into the middle of the pitch.
  

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