Ange Postecoglou says Son Heung-min will be a vital part of his plans moving forward but remarked that even the South Korean will demand a new striker signing as positive competition.
The 31-year-old has done just that, having thrived in the number nine role and Postecoglou is not the least bit surprised by how the new Spurs captain has performed.
When asked about his experience of working with Son, the Australian told Football.London: “I’ve been fortunate to work with some good strikers, but he’s elite in every sort of aspect of you know, attacking players who’ve played in the Premier League.
“I’d be very surprised if by the time he’s finished – which is well down the track – he’s not up there as one of the outstanding strikers because they forget a lot of his career he has played out wide but he’s been a goal threat the whole time.”
“Now I’m putting him inside and that’s why he’s got so many goals already for the year. I think he’s the leading goalscorer for offside goals as well! So he has been outstanding and I knew that before I got here, but just working with him every day the example he sets, as a person as much as a footballer is, it’s just outstanding.”
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Postecoglou pointed out that it is Son’s attitude and hunger, despite having achieved a lot at Tottenham, that has most impressed him about the forward.
The 58-year-old continued: “It’s inspiring for me when you see a person who, for all intents and purposes, has climbed a mountain many times in terms of his own football pedigree but every day, he loves what he does.
“Every day he feels it’s a blessing and every day that rubs off on other people. Then he plays the game like that. He runs around like, he’s literally just chasing balls down. Like I said, to me, that still inspires me, and I feel very grateful to be working with him.”
The Tottenham head coach remarked that seeing their star man and leader work his socks off on and all the ball, sets the standard for the rest of the team.
He added: “That is the sort of definition of leadership. When the chips are down, when things aren’t going well, everyone invariably looks at the leaders. What are your leaders doing? And I think he just got this thing in his head that whatever they say about me, good, bad, or otherwise, I’m not going to stop running throughout this period.
“And that has an effect on people. It does, because a lot of that running is without reward, it doesn’t get a reward for just chasing the ball down, but if your leader, if your best player is doing that, then me as a teammate, well, I can’t not do it. I just cannot. I have to follow that lead and through this period, where we’ve had to sort of dig deep and which we are still going through, he’s been a force.”
Son will demand that Spurs sign a new striker
When asked if he is going to build the Spurs team around Son, Postecoglou responded: “Very much. Yes. Yeah, he will be a very important part of what we’re building and but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t sign another striker because I think even Sonny would demand that of me.
“If you’re going to build a team that’s going to win things, I’ve always found your best players want more good players in the building. They’re not comfortable, they don’t want to be comfortable.
“They don’t want to just be sitting there saying, ‘Well, I’m the man’. They want to know that they’re gonna be surrounded by other players who are just as motivated for success, but there’s no doubt that Sonny will be a big part of that.”
Spurs Web Opinion
World-class forwards are often quite selfish and prefer to preserve their energy to make maximum impact in the final third.
However, Son is one among a rare breed of world-class goalscorers, who is willing to put the team first and works his socks off out of possession if the manager demands that of him.