“Every athlete wants to keep going. Taking a break can be a privilege.”
South Korea’s captain, Son Heung-min (31, Tottenham), spoke to TV Chosun at the National Training Center (NFC) in Paju on Nov. 11 ahead of the national team’s A match against Tunisia. “It’s a special privilege to be given the opportunity to play for the national team,” he said. “Compared to last year, I’m in very good shape. I have a lot of experience and know-how, so I won’t have to worry too much.”
South Korea, led by Jürgen Klinsmann (59-Germany), will face Tunisia in an exhibition match at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on Wednesday at 8 p.m. (live on TV Chosun). South Korea is ranked 26th in the FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) rankings, ahead of Tunisia (29th), but the head-to-head record is 1-1. They will then face Vietnam (95th) on the 17th.
Ahead of the two-game series, there was some controversy over whether it was right to send Son Heung-min, who has been under heavy physical strain lately, to play in an exhibition match against a lower-ranked team like Vietnam. In response, he said on Dec. 12, “There are no (unconditional) strong teams in soccer. It’s important to win and set a good tone. I will check my physical condition while training.”
Son Heung-min recently played 58 games in a year. In one year, he traveled 77,000 kilometers to play. He is currently suffering from groin pain. He has started all eight English Premier League (EPL) games this season, but has only played full-time in two games in rounds two and three. In his last five games, he has been substituted in the last 30 minutes on average. “I think Klinsmann will take good care of him,” Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou (58-Australia) said ahead of the call-up. It was a comment mixed with a bit of concern for a key member of the squad.토토사이트
Son returned home from an EPL match on July 7 and joined the Paju NFC on July 8. He spent the first three days recovering, cycling and getting massages, before returning to training on the 12th. Many people said, “It’s a pity,” and “They need to adjust their playing time because of the high risk of injury. Klinsmann said, “The players will want to play the full 90 minutes in front of their countrymen,” and that he was “not excluding anyone.” With the Asian Cup (Qatar, January) just three months away, coaches want to utilize their key aces. If Klinsmann’s controversial behavior or poor performance is any indication, he’ll have one more thing to worry about.