After a pre-season tour to remember for Tottenham, it is clear to see that Son Heung-Min and his teammates are adored by the people of South Korea. Upon arrival at Seoul Airport, after a welcome only The Beatles could dream of, Tottenham were treated like royalty over their 6 day stay.
Son Heung-Min held a special press conference with Spurs boss Antonio Conte on the tour and the Italian had nothing but praise for the 2021/22 Golden Boot winner.
‘We are talking about a world class player,’ affirmed a grinning Conte. ‘One of the best players, and maybe people underrated him because Sonny can play in any team in the world.
‘He knows my thoughts about him,’ said Conte before replicating Son’s trademark snapshot celebration. ‘Every time I [have] the pleasure to speak about him, I can only say positive things.
‘We are very lucky he stays with us and I am very lucky to have him in my team. It’s a pleasure to have a player like him. Always with a smile, and you can see during training, always a great attitude, great commitment… We are talking about a world class player, one of the best in the world.’
The attacker born with a smile on his face, Son Heung-Min, is undoubtedly the reason for Tottenham’s gargantuan following in South Korea (unless it is the legacy left by Lee Young-Pyo). This was not only a positive for the team in their pre-season matches against Team K-League and Sevilla, but also beneficial for chairman Daniel Levy and the Spurs media team.
A report of matchday sales at the club shop stated that an average of 700 ‘Son 7’ shirts are sold on matchdays at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Tottenham also have the second highest following of any football club on TikTok with over 200 million impressions, 178 million of which are from South Korea.
Aside from his solo influence, the South Korean is unequivocally part of one of the best partnerships in world football with Harry Kane. Tottenham fans have experienced many attacking duos, such as Crooks and Archibald, Keane and Berbatov, Greaves and Gilzean, just to mention a few. However, Kane and Son are by far the most prolific with 41 goals where the pair have combined. Only Sheringham and Anderton have come near for Spurs as a partnership with 27.
Son’s success appeared to skyrocket after the appointment of Jose Mourinho, who also elevated the form of Harry Kane to new heights. The former Bayer Leverkusen man was a solid performer under Mauricio Pochettino but was not praised to the extent he was under Mourinho or now under Antonio Conte.
Counter attacking styles of play seem to be where Son thrives the most, with some of his most memorable goals coming from him using his blistering pace to get into a scoring position. The most notable being a Puskas award winner against Burnley, helped by a majestic Jan Vertonghen assist on the edge of his own box.
It is not just on the pitch where Son displays his talent, he also helps the next generation of Korean talent with a football academy run by his father and brother. The academy costing £11 million is set to be creating a Son Heung-Min museum alongside it, probably inspired by Harry Kane’s museum in London. The academy, which doesn’t allow those under 15 to partake in shooting drills (very bizarre), is sending some of its best players off to German clubs as they dream of following in Son’s footsteps.
As Son looks to the future himself, he will hope this season brings a long awaited team trophy after a successful individual season last year with 23 non-penalty league goals. With the addition of Richarlison, competition for places could see the incredible pace and lethal finishing of the boy from Seoul reach new heights.