Son Heung-min 'Sorry' to Leave Spurs for Asian Cup

  • By Chang Min-seok

    January 04, 2019 11:14

    Son Heung-min

    Fans of Tottenham Hotspur seem unhappy about the prospect of once again losing star striker Son Heung-min to international duty, as Korea prepares to compete in the Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup. The tournament kicks off this weekend in the UAE.

    With 48 points, Spurs are second only to Liverpool (54) in the English Premier League, and have hopes of winning their first title in 58 years. This has led some Tottenham fans to complain over Son's participation in both last year's Asian Games in Indonesia and the upcoming Asian Cup.

    In August last year, Son earned an exemption from military service after Korea won the Asiad gold medal. Though it was not obliged to do so, Tottenham let Son play in the tournament to help him get the exemption and continue to build his career in Europe.

    Unlike the Asian Games, clubs must allow players to join their national teams for the Asian Cup, the quadrennial continental football tournament. Separately, Tottenham agreed earlier with the Korea Football Association to let Son skip the first two group-stage matches and join in the last group-stage match against China. Should Korea make it to the final, Son could miss up to five games for Spurs.

    Son expressed his regrets over his frequent absences due to international tournaments. "Of course I feel very sorry because I already missed matches in September," Son said after a match against Cardiff City on Tuesday. "I feel sorry for my teammates, the fans and the coaching staff. It's difficult. Sometimes you think it's a bit sad, but it is also important for my country. I hope I can keep my form for the national team and when I come back here again as well."

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