Photo from Wikipedia labeled for reuse
Son Heung-Min is a 23 year old South Korean player who currently plays for Tottenham Hotspurs as number 7. Previously, he’s played for Hamburg SV and Bayer Leverkusen. In the summer of 2015, Son became the most expensive Asian player with a record €30m with the Spurs (Carlisle, 1). He played with the South Korean international team in the 2014 World Cup, where he scored one goal in the tournament. He is the reigning Korean footballer of the year the past three years, and 2015 Asian International Player of the Year.
Son’s goal (1-0) against Leicester for FA Cup 3rd Round on Jan. 20, 2016
Vine provided by Soccer Heaven at https://vine.co/v/iitL3xQJbTr
Son had a phenomenal start of his debut season. In his first week as a Hotspur, he scored two goals in a Europa league match against Qarabag FK and then the winning, only goal against Crystal Palace for Tottenham’s first home Premier League win of the season.
After the spectacular debut scoring three goals in five matches, he suffered a foot injury against Manchester City on September 26 (Jones, 1). Son returned November 4, 2015 for the game against Anderlecht (Collomosse, 1).
However, Son has played mediocre at best as a second striker next to Harry Kane or in the midfield upon his return. He has had just two goals in seventeen Premier League appearances (Goal.com, 1). Despite his significant fee, Son hasn’t had as great an impact and has “had issues adjusting to the physicality of the Premier League,” according to Bleacher Report’s midseason report of Tottenham’s summer singings (Rooke, 5). The report gives Son a C (in stark contrast to Alderweireld’s A+). Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino hopes Son can reach his top form soon and commented that he wants the Korean international to fight for his place in the starting XI (Sport, 1). His recent spectacular performance with Leicester City in the FA Cup, in which he shot a screamer past Schmeichel and assisted to Chadli, may just be the confidence he needs to fight for a spot alongside Harry Kane and rising superstar Dele Alli. Son has enormous potential, and we can expect the remainder of the season to be paramount in securing a starting position. With Tottenham currently at the top of the table 5 points behind Leicester City with about a dozen games left, the Spurs will need strong contributions from the 23 year old.
Photo from Tottenham Hotspur’s official website
On the other hand, Son Heung-Min undoubtedly receives an A++ from his teammates and staff for his positive attitude and camaraderie with the Spurs. Son started off on the right foot, treating the team to Korean food his first week, as shown in the picture (Tottenham Hotspur, 1). Since then, he’s gotten much closer with a lot of his teammates. He and Dele Alli appear to have a secret handshake (Magee, 1), Wimmer flew kites with him for lunar new year (Tottenham Facebook), and a group of them making a bet while relaxing in the city of Barcelona (Smith, 1).
Still fairly early in his career, Son has great potential to be one of the best in the Premier League.His speed and accuracy up the field will prove to be a deadly force for the Spurs. There is, however, something that may deter him from reaching full blossom: military service. All Korean players worry or have worried about this in the past, and it is not an easy task to get oneself exempted from mandatory service. Park Ji-sung (Manchester United) and Lee Young-pyo (Tottenham) won themselves exemption as rewards for reaching the World Cup semi-finals in 2002, and dozens more in the 2012 Olympics, when South Korea took home the bronze medal in soccer (Duerden, 1). With 2016 Rio de Janiero approaching, this may just be the best incentive for the Korean international to bring home an Olympic medal again for South Korea.
Carlisle, Jeff. Son Heung-Min completes move to Tottenham from Bayer Leverkusen. ESPN FC, 28 Aug. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. http://www.espnfc.us/story/2584872/son-heung-min-completes-move-to-tottenham-from-leverkusen.
Collomosse, Tom. Tottenham’s Heung-Min Son in club v country row ahead of return from injury. Evening Standard. 4 Nov. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. http://www.standard.co.uk/sport/football/tottenhams-heungmin-son-in-club-v-country-row-ahead-of-return-from-injury-a3106696.html.
Duerden, John. How mandatory military service could distrupt the career fo South Korea’s most exciting start. Fusion, 19 May 2015. Web 11 Feb. 2016. http://fusion.net/story/135321/son-heung-min-military-service-in-south-korea/.
Heung-Min Son Club Page. Goal. Web. 10 Feb. 2016 http://www.goal.com/en-us/people/south-korea/41017/heung-min-son.
Jones, Matt. Son Heung-min Injury: Updates on Tottenham Star’s Foot and Return. Bleacher Report. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2573887-son-heung-min-injury-updates-on-tottenham-stars-foot-and-return
Heung-Min Son and Kevin Wimmer Kite Flying. Tottenham Hotspurs. 8 Feb. 2016. Web. 11 Feb. 2016. https://www.facebook.com/TottenhamHotspur/videos/10153456533953505/?pnref=story
Magee, Will. Spurs’ Dele Alli and Son Heung-Min use secret handshake before Chelsea game- what does it mean? Mirror, 27 Nov. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/row-zed/spurs-dele-alli-son-heung-6912062.
Rooke, Sam. Ranking and Grading Tottenham’s Summer Transfer Signings on Form This Season. Bleacher Report. 8 Feb. 2016. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2614334-ranking-and-grading-tottenhams-summer-transfer-signings-on-form-this-season/page/5.
Son Dine with Me!, Tottenham Hotspur. 19 Sep. 2015. Web 10 Feb. 2016. http://www.tottenhamhotspur.com/news/son-dine-with-me-190915/
Sport, Pa. Spurs’ Mauricio Pochettino urges Son Heung-Min to find form quickly. ESPN FC. 22 Jan. 2016. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. http://www.espnfc.us/tottenham-hotspur/story/2791516/mauricio-pochettino-urges-son-heung-min-to-find-form.
Tottenham starts take part in hilarious rock, paper, scissors bet… with the loser forced to wear crocs and Barcelona shirt as they explore the city during their training camp. TrendySportsNews, 27 Jan, 2016. Web. 11 Feb. 2016. http://www.trendysportsnews.com/tottenham-stars-take-part-in-hilarious-rock-paper-scissors-bet-with-the-loser-forced-to-wear-crocs-and-barcelona-shirt-as-they-explore-the-city-during-their-training-camp/.