Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-min on Monday told fans in Korea he agrees with his father’s view that he is not yet a world-class football player.
“I don’t think I’m a world-class player either. If I really was one, there would be no question about it in the first place,” Son said at a sports brand event in Seoul. His father, Son Woong-jung, made the comments earlier when talking to the media after his son became the first Asian football player to win the English Premier League’s Golden Boot for scoring the most goals last season.
Son shared with fans how it felt to win the award. “There’s a very long background story. I almost had a mental breakdown after wrapping up the first half of the last match of the season” against Norwich City, Son said. At that point he was just one goal behind Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah in the race for the Golden Boot and was desperate to find chances to score.
“I was despondent, but all of my teammates told me they would help me become the top scorer,” he added. “We are all competitors in a way [as individual players], so I was so grateful,” he said. “Even coach Antonio Conte, who doesn’t comment on individual players’ records, urged the players to help. Those things made me feel even better than winning the Golden Boot.”
Tottenham Hotspur will visit Korea from June 10. They are scheduled to play friendlies against the K-League All-Star team in Seoul on July 13 and La Liga club Sevilla in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province on July 16.
Son said, “I am so excited. My teammates asked me to take them to good restaurants, but I don’t know that many places,” he said.
Son’s career has not been all about winning. He played for Korea in the World Cup in 2014 and 2018, and Korea failed to advance beyond the group stage in both events. The upcoming quadrennial event in Qatar in November will be his third appearance and he will lead the team as captain.
“I’m trying not to think about it too much. I don’t want to blow an opportunity to enjoy an event that only comes along once every four years because of pressure,” he said. “I hope all of the Korean squad can play their best on the pitch and enjoy it.”