08 February 2019
It will be a saying Heung-min Son will be used to hearing by now.
After firing Tottenham to victory in their narrow 1-0 win over Newcastle on Saturday, the phrase once again reared its head across social media.
‘Surely one of the Premier League’s most underrated?’
Son’s Wembley winner was his 11th goal in just 14 games for Mauricio Pochettino’s title-chasing Spurs.
The South Korean has long been established as a gem in English football’s top flight.
It’s been a long time since he has been underrated by anyone who regularly watches Premier League football.
This is now Son’s fourth season as a Spurs player and in that time he’s made 118 Premier League appearances.
He’s 40 goals and claimed 18 assists and is now five away from his best haul for the club he joined from Bayer Leverkusen in 2015 for £22million.
Capable of playing a variety of roles across the frontline, Son has been – and will be – invaluable to a Spurs side who are very much entrenched in the thick of a title race.
His performances have even seen him be spoken about as a potential Footballer of the Year.
The likes of Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah and Sergio Aguero – to name just three – might have a say in such matters, but it’s testament to his importance to the Spurs that the debate is being had.
Jonathan Pearce, the long-time BBC commentator, told Son that he might be earning a vote for him in the FWA version of the award.
Son took the compliment with modesty and good grace, declaring himself a firm outsider for such accolades, despite his impressive season.
“I think there are many, many good players involved for this award and I think I am still not there,” he said on Saturday.
“I am going for it because I want to learn and work hard on so many things because I am still young.
“I am hungry and looking forward to learning so many things with positive energy. And then maybe after that, I will be in contention.”
Match of the Day pundit, and the Premier League’s all-time top scorer, Alan Shearer thinks Son is firmly in the race.
He said: “When you put all that [travel to the Asia Cup] into the mix, he will definitely be in the first five names for Player of the Year,” he claimed.
Stan Collymore is another former great who has enjoyed what he’s seen fron Son this season. Last month he used his Daily Mirror coloumn to talk up how vital the 26-year-old is right now.
He wrote: “When Harry Kane got injured, I questioned where Tottenham’s goals would come from because I didn’t believe Son could fill the gap.
“But he responded well to Kane’s absence and, having used his form then as a platform, he is now so much more than the player many of us ¬expected him to be.
“To such an extent that I’d imagine Kane’s is the only name guaranteed on Pochettino’s teamsheet before Son’s at the moment.
“Possibly Christian Eriksen’s as well, but certainly nobody else’s.”
South Korea’s elimination from the Asia Cup late last month will have no doubt come as a welcome relief to Pochettino, who had already seen injuries to Dele Alli and more pertinently, Harry Kane since the turn of the year.
Son’s and his team-mates were knocked out by Qatar at the quarter-final stage, which brought about a timely comeback for Spurs’ all-action frontman.
“Of course he was disappointed to lose the quarterfinal against Qatar — he wanted to deliver his best for his country and win the Asian Cup,” said Pochettino.
“But in the same time I need to be honest — I’m happy he’s back because he’s helping us to try and win, and that is so important.”
Important is correct. Son is seeing his own importance to Spurs grow by the week.
The Premier League’s most underrated?
Heung-min Son certainly doesn’t hold that tag any longer.