Tottenham’s Son Heung-min has had quite a summer. After his heroics at the World Cup with South Korea beating then-World Champions Germany, he went on to win gold at the Asian Games.
With such an eventful summer will come the inevitable fatigue that the South Korean will suffer. This is something that must be managed sensibly by manager Mauricio Pochettino, with an intense season lying in wait.
One of our writers had a look through Twitter to see what the fans thought about Son and what should happen next. A lot of fans have been calling for the forward, who bagged 12 Premier League goals in 37 games last season, to be given a rest, and they could not be more correct.
Despite winning three of their first four games of the season, Tottenham have not looked overly impressive so far. Of course, they looked fantastic in the second half as they overthrew Man United at Old Trafford, but then look lethargic against Watford six days later. But with nine players featuring in the World Cup semi-finals, and very little preseason, that was expected.
Tottenham seriously lacked any firepower from the bench in Sunday’s loss to Watford. This partly can go down to their frugal summer, but also to injuries to players like Erik Lamela. So on one hand, they need Son to return as soon as possible to inject some energy into the side, and allow Pochettino to rotate his players. However, there are more important things at hand.
If Son was to be rushed back into action, he would not be able to make the impact required as he will still not be fresh. To make matters worse, he will only get more tired as the season progresses. He needs time to re-energise; although Tottenham may suffer for a couple more weeks, it will be immensely more beneficial in the long run.
If some players look fatigued after a World Cup, it would only be worse to add another international tournament into the fray as well. Furthermore, the importance of Son winning the Asian Games in order to avoid military service would mean that he was probably under a lot of mental pressure, and he will need a week or so to unwind.
This is a dilemma that faces Pochettino, but it is crucial that he makes the right decision for Tottenham’s sake, and he must rest his returning star.