Son Heung-min, 31, shares his thoughts on the new season and how he’s looking forward to his new role.
Son burst onto the scene in the 2021/22 season, leading the English Premier League (EPL) in goals. However, the following season, 2022/23, he did not perform as well as expected.
There was a reason. A hernia problem. He tried to deal with it quietly, and it wasn’t until he returned to his homeland after the season that he opened up about it.
According to British media outlet Football London on June 26, “I was sick in every game of the previous season, but to be honest, the last game of the season was too painful. The final game, against Leeds United, I just gave up. It was literally every minute of every game, and as strange as it sounds, it affected everything, every run, every stop, every pass, every kick.”
“When I was doing my normal activities, I felt fine. I didn’t have any pain when I walked, so I was excited to go out on the field. As soon as I got on the field for warm-ups, I was frustrated because I had pain. Every action, every turn, every pass, every shot, finally I decided to have the surgery at the end of the season and I think it was the best decision I ever made,” he said.
“I can’t say that the season before was a fantastic season, but it was different mentally. It was as good as two seasons ago (my top scorer season) because I could feel that I could bring back (what I had produced before). This season, I want to show that the Sonny we all know is still there,” he explained.
He also talked about how things have changed under new head coach Enzi Postecoglou. Unlike his predecessor, Antonio Conte, Postecoglou plays an attacking style of football. This was evident in his last trial against West Ham United.
“(I didn’t play) against West Ham, but I could see that it was different from last season. (Playing attacking football) is obviously a good thing. I want to play in the opponent’s half (as much as possible), and the distance to the opponent’s goal is shorter (by moving up the line) than it was (before) when I was 60-70 meters out,” said Son.
Finally, Heung-min spoke about his relationship with Ivan Perisic last season and his preferred positioning: 안전놀이터 “The way I’ve been playing is to face the fullback one-on-one on the touchline and cause problems for the defense. If I spread out to the side (as I did last season), there will be more space inside and (a player like Perisic) will run into the space. We didn’t talk about individual roles, but watching the game against West Ham gave me an idea of my role. Different managers have different ways of playing, but you have to accept what they want,” he concluded.