Darren Bent has told Sky Sports’ programme The Debate that he feels Son Heung-min plays better when Harry Kane is not in the side, after the South Korean star scored twice against Manchester City on Wednesday night.
Tottenham progressed into the semi-finals of the Champions League on Wednesday night after a breathtaking 4-3 defeat to Manchester City was enough to see them qualify – after a 1-0 win in the first leg.
Son scored two early goals for Spurs, including an excellent curling effort for his second. It has taken the 26-year-old onto 20 goals for the entire campaign from just 41 league and cup outings.
Former Spurs striker Bent has claimed that when Kane is unavailable, Son assumes the responsibility of becoming the club’s talisman and plays without freedom. But when Kane is playing, Son is not as good.
“Harry Kane went down, and Son stepped up earlier in the season,” Bent said. ” Kane has gone down again, and Son has stepped up. It’s hard. If Kane is fit, he has got to play. The chemistry between the two might not be great, but Kane has to play.
“Son has taken on the responsibility and he’s done it again tonight. When Kane is out, Son scores all of his goals. But when Kane was back, Son did not look like himself. Without Kane, Son plays with a freedom.”
Bent might be on to something. He is right in saying that you simply cannot drop England captain Kane, because he is indispensable and will score more than 25 goals a season with guarantee.
But Son’s stats show that he is excellent without Kane. The former Bayer Leverkusen man has played eight matches for Spurs this season without Kane, and he has scored eight goals – including two in the Carabao Cup against West Ham.
Son scored three league goals in as many games against Watford, Newcastle and Leicester. Kane returned in Spurs’ next league match against Burnley, which started a goalless run for Son of five league games.
Is Son better without Kane? Yes. But if Mauricio Pochettino can find a happy balance, then Spurs will benefit.