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The prodigal son: does Heung-min Son get the credit he deserves?

After Tottenham Hotspur’s impressive start both domestically and in Europe this season, all the praise thus far has been directed at Harry Kane – and rightly so, the England striker has been in truly scintillating form this season.

But a crucial part of Tottenham’s success is Mauricio Pochettino’s tactical flexibility and the different weapons he now has at his disposal to combat different opposition.

Son Heung-min epitomises this perfectly. As Spurs put in a defensively resolute performance to earn a historic point away to Real Madrid, Son entered the fray as an 89th minute substitute. Five days later, Son Heung-min ran Liverpool ragged from the word go. Pochettino adjusted his tactics from the direct, target-man (Fernando Llorente) approach against Real Madrid to an approach involving lightening quick transitions after regaining possession.

Spurs were able to beat Liverpool at their own game, as they consistently used Son’s pace to exploit the torrid Liverpool defence. In the first half an hour alone, Son was able to get in behind the Liverpool defence four times, where he scored once and also hit the crossbar.

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Son has only started four Premier League matches so far this season, but he understood his role perfectly and helped execute Mauricio Pochettino’s game plan impeccably. His partnership with Kane on Sunday oozed pace, movement and ruthless finishing and can continue to be deployed to haunt defences playing a high line.

Son scored 21 goals in all competitions for Tottenham last season, including a 7 goal purple patch whilst Harry Kane was out injured for a month. So not only can Son Heung-min combine with Harry Kane to devastating effect, but he can also fill the huge void the England striker leaves behind whilst out injured.

Son possesses the lethal combination of hard work and footballing intelligence. He works tirelessly for his team and now has a knack for performing consistently well in big games, something his fellow countryman, Park Ji Sung, was renowned for.

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Tottenham have an abundance of talent in their ranks, with Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen all seemingly worthy of a place in their starting XI. And although Son Heung-min cannot play the target-man role like Fernando Llorente, there is surely a case to be had for Son to be starting more games this season, particularly against fragile defences.

Written by Lukas Jennings.

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