Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has hailed Son Heung-min, comparing the forward to Barcelona great Lionel Messi.
Son is currently having his best season at Tottenham and has played a key role in the north London club’s past two wins since returning from the Asian Cup.
Is Son Heung-min like Lionel Messi? Five key things to know…
- Son is enjoyed his best season at Tottenham and is one of the club’s most important players.
- The South Korean missed three games in January due to his involvement in the Asian Cup.
- But returning almost instantly to the Spurs side after South Korea’s exit, Son has shown Tottenham exactly what they were missing.
- The 26-year-old has scored in each of his past two appearances, with Spurs beating both Newcastle and Watford by a single goal.
- Pochettino believes Son is having a similar impact on matches as Messi does for Barcelona.
Son’s return brought to an end a poor run for Spurs which saw Pochettino’s side knocked out of the Carabao Cup and FA Cup in consecutive matches.
But with the South Korean scoring two goals in two games to help Spurs put pressure on Manchester City and Liverpool, Pochettino has praised his forward for the effort levels he consistently produces.
“He works so hard, always pushing, never gives up. He tries, tries, tries. He’s like this in his effort with and without the ball, he’s very regular and consistent and that is most important,” the Argentine told reporters (via Goal).
“Sonny is like when you have a battery, you work, work, work and then the battery is gone. He is like this, he gives you everything and when he’s exhausted he says: ‘I need to change’ or [that he] needs to rest. He’s like this.
“Always on the pitch he’s 100 percent in every action without or without the ball. That is the most important thing, it’s a very good example for everyone, watching him play.
“Of course after the first season, he understood what we expected of him. Now if you see him, he’s one of the players who is always moving on the pitch, trying to get the best position in defensive and offensive situations.
“Always giving options to team-mates, running forward, dropping and then arriving from the second line. He is a very complete player today and we are so happy with his performance.”
Subscribe to Squawka’s Youtube channel: sqwk.at/Squawka-Sub
Pochettino even went as far as comparing Son to Messi for the way he runs, and his capability of beating opposition defenders.
“It’s not about the distance, it’s about the quality of the run. You can run 12km but if you don’t have sprints or beat your opponent, how you run it’s not going to affect the game,” he added.
“The most important thing is how you run and how you affect the game and the capacity and quality. It’s not about distance. It’s like if you say Messi ran a lot of distance.
“No, but in the distance he applied the pace, or how powerful he is in the moment which made the difference. Sonny is similar, the quality is top because he has a lot of quality in his movement.”
Son’s return saves Tottenham’s season
Having just scraped past Premier League strugglers Fulham without Son – and the already injured Kane – Spurs’ woes got worse when Alli was confirmed to have suffered a hamstring problem.
Tottenham’s first game without all three saw them take on London rivals Chelsea in the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-finals. Pochettino’s men took a 1-0 lead into the match but were outplayed in at Stamford Bridge and eventually lost out on penalties.
Spurs then had another away London derby, this time at Crystal Palace in the FA Cup. Once again Pochettino’s men were left ruing their luck as they suffered a 2-0 defeat at Selhurst Park. But things did get brighter with South Korea getting knocked out of the Asian Cup at the quarter-finals stage.
Rather than resting following the tournament, Son returned immediately to help Tottenham’s cause and started a comeback against Watford in midweek to put Spurs back to winning ways, before scoring the only goal in the 1-0 win over Newcastle.