Ian Clarkson on the South Korean recommendation for the next England manager
Wolverhampton Wanderers' South Korean midfielder Seol Ky-Hyeon has thrown his weight behind the clamour to install Gus Hiddink as England's manager.
Seol was part of the Wolves side that lost in the FA Cup against Manchester United on Sunday.
However, Seol has fonder memories of the World Cup in 2002, being an integral part of the South Korea team that emerged from the shadows to reach the semi-finals under Hiddink.
His performance in steering a side - having failed to win a single fixture in four previous World Cup appearances - to the final four has not gone unnoticed by the FA's top brass.
Hiddink, who has free flights for life from Korean Airlines and a stadium in Gwangju named after him, has since guided Australia to their first World Cup finals in 32 years and would fit the profile of an experienced manager with an excellent tactical brain.
Seol, unsurprisingly, is gushing in his praise of the man who transformed his nation's fortunes internationally. While the England job is the most financially lucrative in world football, it also possesses the most pressure.
Yet Seol is convinced that Hiddink, who has received death threats while PSV Eindhoven coach, is infinitely capable of coping with intense scrutiny.
Seol said: "There are more press in England than in South Korea but the same rules apply, whatever the job. He is a very strong character and after the team lost 5-0 against France and the Czech Republic, he came in for a lot of stick from the press.
"But he is a really strong character and stuck to his principles. Twelve months after we played France again, just before the World Cup, and only lost 3-2. He didn't let anything affect him. He would be able to cope with the pressure of the England job."
Seol says Hiddink's tactical knowledge is comparable with world football's coaching gurus. A semi-final appearance for Holland in the 1998 World Cup under Hiddink's guidance only adds credence to that theory. Seol said: "When he took over as national manager of South Korea he knew that we didn't have the players to reach the World Cup semi-finals.
"However, he knew what we needed and engendered a fantastic team spirit. We adopted different formations for many games and we were always aware of our roles within the team. It is no surprise that he is interested in the England job, as that is the sort of challenge that would excite him."