Son Heung-min

How influential has Son Heung-min become at Tottenham Hotspur?

Son Heung-min is enjoying a breakout season at Tottenham, having finally emerged from the shadows of the rest of the club’s attacking talent, which has allowed him to secure a regular starting position in Mauricio Pochettino’s team.

Since signing in the summer of 2015, the former Bayer Leverkusen forward has been a supporting player in the squad. He has contributed at times, but he hasn’t been able to break into the starting eleven. That is until now and his consistency during the last couple of months proves that he is ready to take up such a role.

Following the club’s recent 4-0 victory over Everton, the South Korean international was named man-of-the-match and received praise from Mauricio Pochettino, as reported by the Evening Standard:

“It was a great performance, but it’s not only today. It’s three months we’ve been talking about Sonny’s performance. He’s showing he’s more mature than last season and his performances are helping the team a lot.

“He, today, everyone can see that he’s on more of a level, the belief and confidence that show in every game is fantastic. He’s been doing so well this season of course.”

One of the main reasons for Tottenham’s development into a Champions League team is the coaching of Mauricio Pochettino. The Argentine is very good at getting the best out of his squad and helping his players reach the next level. Other clubs rely on spending a lot of money to maintain a high standard, while Spurs’ success is more natural.

Son is a great example of a player that arrived with potential and flourished under the management in North London. They may not be challenging for the title, but the club continue to move forward and it is crucial that they keep this group of players together.

It was a quality performance from the South Korean on Saturday and he was a constant threat, showing a good understanding of the rest of his side’s attack through clever interchanging movement.

Son scored the opening goal, ghosting into the box before finishing from Serge Aurier’s cross. He was the player to have the greatest impact in the attacking half, as he attempted seven shots, more than any other player on the pitch.

He showed his great instincts in the final third, with his movement proving key to the Lilywhite’s success going forward. He is direct in the final third and that makes him a dangerous weapon to have in the team. The Tottenham number seven came close to doubling his tally with an excellent effort from range, but he was denied by the woodwork.

The 25-year-old is more than a goal-scorer, as he showed for the club’s second of the evening. Displaying great skill to beat the defender, he laid a pass on a plate for the in-form Harry Kane.

In addition to a direct threat, Son was reliable in possession and ended the match with a pass success rate of 84%. This was the highest of the Tottenham front four and showed another string to his bow.

Creatively, the South Korean international made two key passes. The 25-year-old is an effective player in transition as he can carry the ball with good speed.

Against Everton, he completed five dribbles, which was joint-most of the match tied with Mousa Dembele. He is playing with a lot of confidence at the moment and is a joy to watch.

The next challenge for Son will be to maintain this form for the rest of the season and avoid being relegated back to the bench. The match against Everton was his ninth consecutive start in the Premier League and this run of games has been his most successful period as a Tottenham player.

As things stand, he has contributed eight goals and four assists in the Premier League, with his goal involvement standing as one every 116.25 minutes. To put this into context, Dele Alli’s is 153.4 minutes and Christian Eriksen’s is 163.8 minutes.

Harry Kane is a crucial player for Tottenham, due to his goal-scoring record. However, they aren’t as reliant on him as they were 18 months ago and a huge reason for that has been the progression of Son.

He is now the main supporting actor to the Tottenham number 10 and his recent promotion to a regular starter is well deserved. He has been used in a variety of positions and always managed to contribute, which is a testament to his commitment.

Now he is in a settled role, Spurs are seeing the best of what he has to offer and they will be hoping that it can continue for a long time.

2018 promises to be another huge year for Son. He is already the top-scoring South Korean in Premier League history and that record will be improved on over the next 12 months. His country will be at the forefront of his mind as he is set to go to the World Cup in the summer after they were drawn to face Sweden, Mexico and Germany.

Although he won’t be considering it, he has the potential to be the best player in the history of South Korean football and he could cement that legacy in Russia. Given his current form, it is difficult to back against him from making the step up to the next level during this calendar year.

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