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Over There: Tottenham’s Son begins military service during football stoppage

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Private Sonny, reporting for duty!

Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-min has entered a whole new world as of today. According to numerous reports, Sonny has officially reported for duty to serve his mandatory military boot camp training with the South Korean marines. A photo shows Sonny walking past mask-wearing Korean soldiers at a military base on the island of Jeju, where he will spend the next several weeks.

Sonny earned a respite from the 20 months of mandatory military service required by all able-bodied South Korean males by virtue of leading Korea to a gold medal at the Asian Games in 2018, but is still required to do a short stint in basic training. With football shut down until early June at the earliest, this provides a perfect opportunity for Sonny to fulfill this obligation to his home country.

The Guardian writes that Sonny should be released from military service by mid-May; in the meantime he’ll be subjected to tear gas, military drills, and long hikes. And he’ll return to England sporting a shaved head, the required hairstyle for all recruits.

Sonny is one of the most famous cultural figures in South Korea, and his military service has attracted a lot of attention and not just among Tottenham fans. Son has asked that the public stay away from the base in Jeju in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines as he reports for duty, as stated on his Facebook page.

“As large gatherings have been discouraged due to the Covid-19 virus and as we are working to comply with government policy, we will not be opening this event up to the public.

”This decision is being made to ensure the safety of the fans and reporters and to prevent any dangerous situations from arising.

”Thank you for your understanding. Heung-min Son looks forward to completing his military duty and doing his best at the training facility.”