Son Heung-min has had another excellent season of development under Mauricio Pochettino. During the last six months, he has emerged as one of the most dangerous players in the Premier League and he will believe there is more to come over the coming years. However, Tottenham’s recent dip in form has coincided with a goal drought for the South Korean. The 26-year-old hasn’t scored in any of his last five matches and the team have only won once during that period.
It is perhaps too simplistic to suggest the decline in Son’s performances have been directly responsible for the difficult run of results suffered by Tottenham, but they have certainly been a factor. During the absence of Harry Kane and Dele Alli, the South Korean stepped his own form up with a series of match-winning performances. Many of his big moments came in the latter stages of matches, which underlined both his stamina and ability to step up when it matters most. In recent years, that role has been taken on by Kane, but the former Bayer Leverkusen man proved that he could be relied on in a similar way.
These last 12 months have been testing for Son on a physical level. He has been required to play in three international tournaments, which have provided huge physical and mental tests for him. The former is self-explanatory, as he has had to play a lot of football and travel long distances to represent his country. However, the latter has been overlooked by many. For South Korea, the 26-year-old is seen as the undoubted star and there is an expectation on him to perform. This was most evident earlier this year when national service loomed over the squad.
Although Son will not have to perform military duty, the last 12 months will have been mentally fatiguing for him and the recent drop-off shouldn’t be a surprise. That said, Tottenham don’t have another game until the final day of this month and that means that their dynamic attacker will have time to rest. It has been much needed, but there haven’t been many opportunities for the club to leave him out for a prolonged period.
Due to his enthusiasm and determination, it is unlikely that poor form will last for too long and Tottenham must bring him back into the starting eleven after the international break. The club will be looking to consolidate their position in the top four and they need their best players on the pitch to do that. Son now qualifies in that category and he provides something different to the rest of the attack.
This season, he has contributed 11 goals and five assists. Son’s overall contribution in attack has been consistent, with an average of 2.4 shots, 1.5 dribbles and 1 key pass per ninety minutes. At times, his link-up play with Harry Kane is devastating and the South Korean’s directness can cause a lot of problems for opposition defenders.
The coming weeks will be vital for Tottenham and the future of this team. They must focus on finishing in the top four, but they also have a chance of competing in the Champions League. They are in the quarter-finals and they have the quality to go deeper in the competition. There is no debating Son’s importance and he needs to be given a prominent role during the run-in.