The cult of Son

by Karl Harrington

It's been a mixed season so far but 'Sonny' has been essential to some of our highs. Karl Harrington takes a look at our South Korean star.

Spurs are finally back on song, by no coincidence coinciding with the good form of Heung-Min Son. It’s as easy to throw praise at a player after a comprehensive victory as it was to give Crouch a standing ovation at 4-0, but after two recent individual achievements for the Korean it’s only fair to shine a little light on our humble attacker.

A testing few weeks for Spurs may have taken some of the gloss off Son’s personal feats. A goal from a trademark burst down the left against Palace saw him surpass fellow countryman Ji-sung Park to become the Prem’s most prolific Asian of all time. While he saw off competition from Shinji Kagawa to be crowned best in his continent.

Son is only the third Asian to wear Lilywhite. And, compared to the Japanese anime, Toda to Son is a Charmander to Charizard-esque evolution in quality; with Lee Young-Pyo a timid Charmeleon you wouldn’t want to risk in battle against dangerous opponents. But it hasn’t been all plain sailing for Sonny. He can frustrate as much as he can titillate, a scapegoat as often as he’s an idol. And predicting his next performance can be as complex a task as attempting to memorise one of his handshake routines.

His first season at the Lane was underwhelming. We had high hopes for Asia’s most expensive player but he failed to really get going after an early Qarabag brace. Following heartbreak at the Olympics that summer he returned to ask for a transfer due to a lack of first team opportunities. But Poch told him he was in his plans and since then his luck has changed. After a powerful start to the last campaign Sonaldo became the first Asian to win player of the month. His streak continued and in a year which saw much success for our attacking quartet Son racked up a career best of 21 goals.

It hasn’t been all plain sailing for Sonny. He can frustrate as much as he can titillate, a scapegoat as often as he’s an idol

Off the pitch he’s also proved to be an endearing character. Any goal from Son is inevitably marked by a blitz of ‘Teletubbies Son’ memes on your news feed; an image that seems not only fitting to his namesake but also to the warmhearted nature associated with Koreans. Such was evident during his first week at the club when he treated players and staff to some traditional cuisine at Hotspur Way. And the humility he continues to show in post match interviews is not what you might expect from a man who has God-like status in his home country. But, although ‘the one that does all the handshakes’ has amassed an army of admirers around the world, the only way to keep the Spurs faithful on side is to build on some vibrant performances carry on finding the back of the net.

We’ve had a mixed season so far but Son has been essential to some of our highs. The beekeeper, nicknamed so during his time in Germany for repeatedly terrorising Dortmund, returned to haunt the Bundesliga outfit with two influential displays and as many goals. His pace tore the Liverpool defence to pieces at Wembley and of course he was the main man in Saturday’s emphatic win. He’s also rescued us a point at Watford and grabbed all three against Palace in games where we struggled to get going in attack. With both Dele and Eriksen quickly losing their ‘too good to drop’ status Son must be one of the first names on Poch’s team sheet for upcoming games. He’s hitting some much desired consistency recently when given the chance so let’s hope he can continue to shine throughout a hectic Christmas period.

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