Ji Dong-Won's ex-Reading teammate Nam Tae- Hee believes the young Korea international will become a “great player” at new club Sunderland.
Nam, 19, spent time alongside Ji at Reading's academy during 2007 and 2008 before moving to Ligue 1 club Valenciennes while his former teammate returned to Korea to play for Chunnam Dragons.
Ji, 20, has flown to England this week to complete the formalities with Sunderland after agreeing to a three-year contract and Nam told the Korea JoongAng Daily the move is the best thing for his compatriot.
“When we were on the national team, I told him to go Europe because you can learn lot of things there,” said Nam during a break in Korea.
“Of course, there are things you can learn here in Korea, but if he gains some experience in Europe, I think he will be great player.”
Nam, who made 21 appearances for Valenciennes during the 2010-11 season, offered some advice for Ji as he prepares to embark on his European career.
“I first thought everything would go smoothly as long as you play football well, but it doesn’t. I think making friends and knowing people is important. You have to communicate well,” said Nam.
“There is no doubt that he has great football skills but you need to get along with your teammates first.”
Nam made his international debut earlier this year against Turkey and said football has taken over his life since moving to Europe.
“I only think about football these days. I quit playing video games recently. I do work out a lot, but for the most part I focus on matches,” said Nam.
“I just love it and want to be good at football. That is why I’m crazy with this sport.”
The Busan-born midfielder added he was content at Valenciennes at the moment but was hoping to improve his game and be part of the 2014 Fifa World Cup.
“Valenciennes is still a big team for me. In fact, I haven’t confirmed my starting position in the lineup. I still have a lot to learn with this club,” said Nam.
“I want to play in the 2014 World Cup. Then, I want to be starter for Valenciennes. I know I have to work harder. I’m not satisfied with where I am right now.”