With Premier League action being suspended from the start of March, Son Heung-min decided to put the time to good use by completing his mandatory military service back in South Korea.
All South Korean men must complete mandatory military service by the age of 28 but Son was excused from the full 21-month period after helping South Korea to victory in the 2018 Asian Games.
However, the Spurs man was still required to complete a three-week service which he decided to undertake during the coronavirus shutdown.
The 27-year-old was the top performer among 157 trainees during the three-week period, for which he was awarded the ‘Pilsung’ prize (BBC Sport).
Although he admitted that the training was quite hard, the forward insisted that he enjoyed the experience.
Speaking to Spurs TV, Son said: “It’s been a very busy three months.
“It was a good experience. I couldn’t say everything that I’ve done but I really enjoyed it. Those guys were nice.
“The three weeks were tough but I tried to enjoy it. I don’t know how the people felt, but for me, the three weeks have been long but it was a good experience, I enjoyed it.”
The pacy star revealed that his fellow trainees were too shy to speak to him at first but eventually overcame that fear and grew close with him.
He added: “The first day when we don’t know each other was a bit weird but soon we got to know each other.
“We spent every day together in one room, 10 people very close, working together, we helped each other so the time was fantastic.
“Those guys, the first day and second day they couldn’t even speak to me but by the end, they were joking with me and we were enjoying everyone together.”
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Given that Son had to complete the military service before 28, he would have likely had to complete it in the summer anyway had the season not been suspended. So in a way, the suspension of the league has proved a blessing in disguise for him. It would have allowed him to maintain a certain level of fitness, which would hopefully help make the transition back into football easier after such a long break.
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