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Heung-Min Son recalls watching Ji-Sung Park and Champions League debut at United

Sat 10 December 2016, 14:26|Tottenham Hotspur

Heung-Min Son returns to not only the scene of his Champions League debut this weekend, but the place one of his Korean idols used to call home.

The 24-year-old attacker is relishing tomorrow’s (Sunday, December 11) trip to Old Trafford to take on a Manchester United outfit that has a large following back in his homeland thanks to their former midfielder Ji-Sung Park.

Recognised as the most successful Asian player in football history, Park won four Premier League titles, plus the Champions League and three League Cups during his time at United between 2005 and 2012.

Ahead of our clash with the Red Devils, Sonny says the ex-PSV Eindhoven and QPR man, a former captain of the South Korea national team, had a big influence on him growing up.

“When I was a kid, the most famous Korean player played for Manchester United – Ji-Sung Park,” he recalled.

“A lot of Koreans watched a lot of Manchester United’s games because of him. When I was young, I watched some of their games too and it’s a dream for me to play against them now.

“We have a good opportunity to get three points on Sunday – we are really fit and in good form. United have great players, it won’t be an easy game but we’re going there to get three points.”

Above: Ji-Sung Park on South Korea duty.

As Sonny was yet to join us from Bayer Leverkusen when we went to Old Trafford on the opening day of last season, tomorrow’s match will mark his first away game against the Red Devils in our colours.

But in September, 2013, he turned out at the Theatre of Dreams for his former club for what was his first ever appearance in the Champions League.

“My debut in that competition was at Old Trafford and it will be great to go back there,” he smiled. “Old Trafford is a very famous stadium and I’m very excited to play there in a Tottenham shirt. It’s a great ground, they have a great team but we are going there to get three points and not just to enjoy the feeling.

“United are the sort of team that can go and win three or four times in a row. They’ve got some real quality and we have to be careful of them, but we don’t have to be scared of them – they have to be aware of us. We have to play in our style, work hard, press high with our offensive players and I think we’ve got a great chance to get three points.”

Last weekend’s 5-0 home victory over Swansea City saw Sonny return to the scoresheet for the first time since September – a month in which he hit sparkling doubles against Stoke City and Middlesbrough and netted the winner in our Champions League trip to CSKA Moscow.

Encouragingly, he says he’s working hard in an attempt to hit those heights once again during this busy period of domestic fixtures.

“I’m trying to get back to that level,” he added. “I’ve had a few small injuries, just small things, but I’m very fit now and I’m getting fitter than before. I’d travelled a lot for international breaks and this can also make you tired but I’m really excited to work hard and hopefully help the team by scoring more goals now.”