We haven’t yet seen Son Heung-Min play football for Tottenham Hotspur this season, and by the looks of things it’s now possible that we’ll see him play for Korea before he returns to Spurs.
According to a report in the Korea Herald, South Korea national team manager Shin Tae-yong is expected to call up both Sonny and Ki Sung-yueng, who is also recovering from injury, for upcoming AFC World Cup qualifying matches at the end of the month. Shin will announce his final roster on Monday.
"I think Son has recovered enough to play the World Cup qualifiers," Shin said. "He will not have a big problem.
"I can't call up Son early, but once he returns to South Korea we will check up on his condition. Then I have to think about whether I should start him or use him as a substitute."
You can understand why Shin might consider this move. Ki and Son are quite easily Korea’s two best players, and constitute a bulk of their offense. Without either of them, Korea faces an uphill battle to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Korea are currently second in their qualifying group with 13 points, behind Iran with 20, but Uzbekistan is only a point behind the Koreans, and Syria four points back. In their final two qualifying matches, Korea host Iran on August 31 and then travel to Uzbekistan on September 5. The top two teams in their group automatically qualify for Russia 2018.
Sonny broke his arm in the last round of World Cup qualifiers, sustaining his injury in a shock 3-2 loss to Qatar that now still resonates in this upcoming round of matches. Son was last spotted doing individual work at Tottenham’s training facilities sporting a soft cast, and isn’t expected to play at all during Spurs’ first Premier League match against Newcastle this Sunday.
I’m in the “ban international football” camp so I find this particular bit of news irksome. It’s bad enough that we have to wait this long to get Sonny back for Spurs, but to risk him this early for international matches is particularly galling. On the other hand, Korea are in a real bind and obviously Shin is desperate for his two best players.
In the end, I guess, I hope Sonny plays and plays well. But if he gets injured again I’m burning all my K-Pop CDs.