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Son Heung-Min skips South Korea World Cup qualifier to focus on Tottenham club career

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Sonny is heading home from the international break early to concentrate on breaking into Tottenham’s starting 11.

South Korea v China - 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Group A Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-Min is cutting his latest stint with the South Korean national team short. Four days after starting and playing nearly the entire match in Korea’s 3-2 AFC World Cup qualification win over China in Seoul, Sonny has announced his intention to return to North London, skipping Korea’s qualifier against Syria this Friday in Malaysia.

"Tottenham are the team I wanted to join and I know that I have to work hard and play my best. I am in good condition and ready to go and play as well as I can.

"I am sorry to my national team-mates and coach but I will support them and hope they get a good result against Syria."

The reigning AFC Asian Footballer of the year, Son still plays a pivotal role for South Korea. Against China he played 91 minutes and was pivotal in two of Korea’s goals, firing in a free kick that was deflected past the keeper as an own goal, and putting in a good cross that ended up being a “hockey assist.”

That said, last season wasn’t an especially great one with Tottenham. He also lost a lot of preseason training time and missed Spurs’ first two matches of the season by virtue of playing in the Rio Olympics. Sonny’s not a starter at the moment and while he’ll get his fair share of games between the Premier League, Champions League, and domestic cups, he’s a player that probably should be starting for a Champions League caliber club. This is probably a good decision for him to come back and show his commitment to club football.

Syria isn’t exactly an Asian football power – they’ve never qualified for a World Cup and lost 1-0 at Uzbekistan earlier in the week – so Korea isn’t likely to lose much sleep over Son’s absence. Sonny’s return to Tottenham will hopefully allow him to work his way back into Mauricio Pochettino’s first team plans.