Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Son Heung-min: On the right track to become the best Asian player ever?

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Tottenham Hotspur stunned Manchester City in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals. A 1-0 win at their brand new stadium lifted the Spurs one step closer to the tournament’s semifinals, and they only have player to thank for it. He goes by the name of Son Heung-min.

The South Korean winger played a huge role on the Spurs win. The road seemed steeper when Harry Kane left the game injured, but Son came through when the team needed him the most. He scored the game’s lone goal with an excellent finish from close range after a lobbed pass from Christian Eriksen, and there’s a lot of talk of whether he is Tottenham’s most important player right now.

This is not an attempt to decrease the importance of other stars such as Eriksen, Kane or even Hugo Lloris; in fact, the French goalkeeper stopped a Sergio Agüero penalty during the first half when the game was still scoreless. But Son’s importance simply can’t be overlooked. He’s been clutch for the Spurs in 2019, and he seemed to step it up a notch following his return from the 2019 Asian Games.

We can’t overlook his impressive form this season!

Through 39 appearances in all competitions, Son already has 18 goals and six assists. He went six games without scoring between February and March, but started April with back-to-back goals against Crystal Palace and now City. He has two of the Spurs’ three goals in their new stadium, so perhaps the new venue will suit him well.

Son is only 26 years old, meaning his best years are still yet to come. Many believe he’s already one of the best Asian players in history, but still has room to make up. Right now, he’s in an upper echelon in comparison to other successful Asian players. But at the same time, he’s still a few steps below the likes of Ji-Sung Park, Hidetoshi Nakata or even Kazu Miura. The latter is an absolute legend in the Asian region, and Son needs to do a bit more to surpass him.

He’s undoubtedly on the right track. And who knows? If the Spurs win the Champions League and Son keeps playing a huge role on the team’s successes, the narrative might change. He’s already up there. And that’s a huge accomplishment consider he still has his best footballing years ahead of him.


Juan Pablo Aravena

A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.



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