Son Heung-Min is in the form of his career right now for Tottenham Hotspur. That’s good for Spurs, certainly. But Sonny’s Republic of Korea international manager is concerned that Sonny’s excellent form combined with the grueling toil of the Premier League run-in could have a detrimental impact on his form for this summer’s World Cup.
Here’s Shin Tae-Yong (as reported by ESPN), concern-trolling Tottenham supporters and fretting over his star player:
“I hope Son can perform in the World Cup like he currently does for his club, but I’m concerned that Son’s red-hot form could cool down around the World Cup period.
”No player can maintain his best form all season long. I’m really worried that Son’s form might go down from May, with his concentration waning and him becoming physically fatigued.”
Korea are in an enormously difficult World Cup group, drawn into Group F which includes Germany, Mexico and Sweden. So you can understand his concern, a little: even at its best Korea would have a difficult time getting out of that group. Toss in a “tired” Son and it becomes that much tougher. And of course, we’d all like Korea to do well — if they make it to (I think) the quarterfinals of the World Cup then Sonny would be exempted from his mandatory military service, which is fast approaching.
But my reaction to Shin’s comments? Tough cookies. I’m not sure what he expects Tottenham to do about it. Rest Sonny more? Unlikely, considering he’s playing probably the best football of his career, and will be the primary striker now that Harry Kane is injured. Also, as Tottenham’s second leading scorer, he’s an enormously important part of this Spurs side. Barring injury, he’s not going to be taking a back seat from now until the end of the league season.
Also, it’s not like Son’s situation is at all unique. You could say this about literally any player that is set to be a regular starter for their national team in the World Cup this summer. During international tournament years, players don’t get much of a break between their club seasons and the summer tournaments. Sometimes that means they flop during the big tournaments. Them’s the breaks.
I don’t really understand what Shin’s trying to accomplish here. These kinds of comments aren’t really helpful to anyone: they don’t change the situation for Korea and they will only serve to annoy Tottenham officials. Shin may be saying what Korea fans are thinking, but it comes across as pointless hand-wringing, and he probably should’ve just kept his concerns private.
Korea play two friendlies during next week’s international break: at Northern Ireland in Belfast, and at Poland in Chorzow.