It’s a big season for Heung-Min Son, and it’s not started well. Good luck to him in Brazil, but Olympics Shmolympics.
Having experienced (suffered?) a full Pochettino preseason, the time was right for him to put those dancing feet to good use and challenge for a first team place. He’s a goalscorer, and who can afford to leave out one of those? Well no-one, on paper, but if you’re a stubborn Argentinian who likes getting his own way and has used sidelining anyone who doesn’t get with the programme, no matter what their marketing appeal, as a tool on his path to success, well then you’re playing Olympic Roulette. (It’s like Russian Roulette except that you’re the only one who ever has to hold the gun to your temple).
We’re biased of course in this country. It’s unnatural to take Olympic football seriously, mostly because we, 2012 excepted, don’t have representatives at the competition. However, the clubs don’t take it seriously either. It’s an under 23 competition, except that a restricted number of over 23s are allowed. The clubs don’t have to release their players, so mostly, they don’t! According to Tim Vickery, ‘South American football expert ‘, Argentina almost backed out of this year’s competition as they couldn’t get a team together. What sort of tournament is that?
Son cost us a lot of money, even at today’s silly prices, and showed in patches last season that there’s a decent player in there waiting to provide useful goals and energy. His injury did him no favours but this year there’ll be no excuse if he doesn’t produce the goods.
There is a theory that should South Korea win the Olympics with Son in the side, then he’ll be excused National Service in his homeland. Less national service = more time at Spurs, therefore it makes sense to let him go. In 2012 Son didn’t compete in London – he was quoted as saying (according to the ever reliable Wikipedia) that he wanted to “pour all my time into team training at Hamburg”. Hm.
Good luck to him in Rio as I say, but he may find a frosty reception in the manager’s office on his return to Hotspur Way and if he sustains an injury whilst he’s out there, then National Service would be a sweeter form of hell.
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