By now everyone knows that Tottenham Hotspur was the first Premier League club to suffer through a major COVID-19 outbreak this winter. While the club has not confirmed which players tested positive during the outbreak — and they almost certainly won’t unless the individual players decide to reveal that information — Son Heung-Min has been associated with both of Spurs’ COVID scares in the past year, something that has raised questions by Spurs fans about his vaccination status.
But as reported in the Telegraph today, Sonny has gone public. In an interview with Mike McGrath, Son said he has received two shots of the COVID vaccine, in part because of his international travel with the Korea national team and because he wanted to protect others in the event he tested positive.
“To be honest, I felt I needed it because I didn’t want to infect other players or other people if I had COVID. It doesn’t mean that if I get vaccinated I won’t get COVID, but the percentages would be a bit lower so I don’t want to infect other people. That is why I got it.
“The rules and the travelling - because I’m not only here, I travel over to the national team - that is why, in my opinion, it was the best option to have it. I have not regretted having it and was happy to have my second vaccination.”
Sonny went on to talk about Tottenham’s squad and how they’ve been dealing with the recent spate of match postponements. Spurs currently have had their two Premier League matches postponed due to the outbreak, and thanks to the weather-related Burnley cancellation now have three games in hand compared to many of their league competitors. But Sonny says that the team has been working hard, especially with an important home match against Liverpool coming up tomorrow.
“We prefer games and the games have been positive, so it has been tough, tough moments. But we have this experience and the most important thing at the moment is not football.
“The players’ and people’s health is the most important and obviously we have to think positively, so we have time to prepare for games and the way the manager wants to prepare for the games we can understand a bit more because of the training sessions. As football players, we want to play football.
“We need to be really strong in our minds to get ready every three days, but it’s something we have done quite well.”
Son went on to talk about the personal decision to get vaccinated for COVID-19, and how his decision might be influential to others. This part, unfortunately, is a little less laudatory.
“It is a personal issue and I respect any decision other people make because it is personal. In Korea, they had a lot of people vaccinated but also some people didn’t want it. But we should listen to how they feel because if we don’t talk we don’t get any answers. So we should respect any personal issue and people’s choices over the decision.”
So, on a personal level, I hate this opinion and think it sucks. It’s both a cop-out — vaccine hesitancy is one of the reasons why we’re two years into this pandemic with another huge wave to hit imminently — and a stock PR-influenced answer that’s designed to be as inoffensive to as many people as possible. I understand — honest — why Sonny (and/or his PR team) feels the need to make these kinds of statements about personal choice, and he’s not exactly wrong, especially about needing to listen to people and their experiences. But Sonny’s also a mega-star footballer ink the UK, abroad, and especially in Korea, and a full-throated endorsement of vaccination could potentially save lives. I would’ve much preferred to hear something more along the lines of what Jurgen Klopp said about vaccination than this.
But that’s secondary to the relief I feel that Sonny takes this situation seriously and that he’s taken the personal responsibility to get jabbed. He’s one of only a couple of players who have publicly announced their vaccination status — Lucas Moura confirmed that he’s vaxxed on twitter and encouraged Brazilians to get the shot, and there’s probably a couple more that I’m not remembering.
Tottenham posted an update previewing tomorrow’s match against Liverpool that stated most of the COVID positive players have now returned to training, with a couple more due back by tomorrow. It’s unclear how many of them will be in line to start.
Antonio Conte revealed on Friday that we’re now down to two cases of COVID-19 within the squad following the recent outbreak.
On the injury front, Giovani Lo Celso is back and Antonio is hopeful over Sergio Reguilon after he came off during the first half of our win over Norwich last time out.
— Tottenham Hotspur