Son Heung-min has apologised to Tottenham Hotspur supporters for his imminent Asian Cup departure but feels it’s something he cannot avoid.
The 26-year-old South Korean forward is enjoying a prolific run of form with the north London club but heads off on international duty later this month.
Why will Son be missing for Spurs? Five key things to know…
- Son joined Spurs from Bayer Leverkusen for a reported £22m in 2015.
- The South Korean is enjoying his best season to date, scoring eight times across 16 matches so far.
- This comes despite Son missing three games at the start of the season due to the Asian Games, with South Korea winning the football gold medal.
- Son is set to miss more games in January to the Asian Cup, and the South Korean has apologised to Spurs fans for his upcoming absent.
- Only the club’s leading marksman Harry Kane (14) has been more prolific than Son.
It will not be the first time this season Son has missed games for Spurs due to representing his nation; the native of Chuncheon took part in last summer’s Asian Games football tournament in which he led them to gold.
Since returning he’s quickly made up for lost time. Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has so far played him on no fewer than 25 occasions and he’s repaid that faith with 11 goals and seven assists.
His recent performances in the Premier League has been nothing short of outstanding; Son, across his last nine league outings, has bagged eight goals and created a further five for his teammates.
Such is the goodwill between South Korea and his club Son will be allowed to join his teammates late, after Spurs face Manchester United on January 13, but there’s an element of regret even though he’s determined to go.
“I feel very sorry because I already missed matches at the Asian Games and now I’m going away with the national team again. I feel very sorry for my team-mates, the fans and the coaching staff,” he told the Evening Standard.
“It’s difficult — it’s my country. It’s a bit sad [for me] but it’s also important; I can’t use one word to describe it. I hope I can keep up this form for the national team and when I come back to Spurs.
“Of course, I’m going to watch every single Spurs game in the UAE. This team is very important for me. I play here with joy. But if we win [the Asian Cup], it’s big for us. We haven’t won it for 59 years.
“We want to win this tournament, I’m not just going there to enjoy it. I want to win something. I want to come back strong, with confidence and trophies. There’s a long way to go but I want to work hard to win trophies for my country, and at Tottenham as well.”
How many games could Son miss?
The 17th edition of the Asian Cup, held in The United Arab Emirates, begins on January 5 with the final taking place on February 1.
South Korea, as Son has touched upon, were last champions of their continent in 1960 having also won the inaugural 1956 competition.
Paulo Bento’s men open their campaign against Philippines (January 7) before taking on Kyrgyzstan (January 11) and China (January 16) where Son could potentially feature.
If they were to go all the way then Son is expected to miss at least four matches in all competitions including three Premier League encounters – Fulham (January 20), Watford (January 30) and Newcastle United (February 2) – as well as their League Cup semi-final second-leg tie against Chelsea (TBC).