Son: 'I can't say the words... it's just amazing'
Star's nerves, leadership skills and United joy from afar
Fri 14 September 2018, 15:09|Tottenham Hotspur
With a gold medal hanging proudly around his neck, an emotional Heung-Min Son is fired up for his return to Premier League action, roaring: “I will do my best until I die.”
Our lively South Korean forward featured off the bench in our season opener at Newcastle United on 11 August before jetting off to captain his nation’s young side at the Asian Games in Indonesia.
After winning five of their six games on the way to the gold medal match, Sonny led South Korea to a 2-1 victory over Japan after extra time in the final showdown on 1 September – a significant achievement for the 26-year-old and his fellow countrymen.
His participation led him to miss our Premier League matches against Fulham, Manchester United and Watford but, after returning to South Korea to skipper their senior national team in friendlies against Costa Rica (2-0 win) and Chile (0-0 draw) during the international break, he has now reported back in at Hotspur Way, where he’s been showing off his medal in addition to preparing for Saturday’s top-flight clash with Liverpool at Wembley.
In a positive, bubbly mood, Sonny sat down with Spurs TV to discuss the nervousness he felt the night before the Asian Games final, his growing leadership skills and how he was so happy with our 3-0 win at Manchester United last month that he felt like he’d played in the game himself, even though he was thousands of miles away...
Welcome back Sonny, and congratulations! How do you feel?
Heung-Min Son: “The first thing is I’m really thankful and grateful to my team-mates, coaching staff and fans – they supported me in England (all the way) to Indonesia and I could feel it from there, how they supported me. It was just an unbelievable feeling. It was a great month but I feel very sorry that I missed some games for this team. Of course, I missed the Premier League.”
What was it like to captain your team to victory?
“It’s something new, a new experience for me. It was my first time as captain, to have a tournament with the team. Sometimes it was difficult because it was my first time as captain but I enjoyed it. The young lads did very well, they worked very hard and they listened very well to me. I was very happy to win this tournament for my country and I was very happy to win my first tournament as captain.”
Do you sense that you’re becoming more of a leader as you get older?
“I don’t know. I try at least. I’ve had so many good captains and I was just copying them. I tried to be a leader for my country and we had very good results so I was very happy.”
How much pressure did you feel before the final against Japan?
“Normally I’m not nervous before the games – I’m happy, relaxed and I try to enjoy the games but before the final I was a bit nervous, I couldn’t sleep well at night and for the first 10 or 15 minutes, my legs were not working, they were very heavy, but after that they worked better again. I can feel it was an experience. They were Under-23 games but still I learned so many things at this tournament. The final, honestly, we had a great result and that’s why I can speak with a smile at the moment. I think we deserved it and I’m very happy for all my country.”
Did you manage to keep up with our results while you were at the tournament?
“Of course, I followed the games against Fulham, Manchester United and Watford because it’s my team and I had to watch it! It was a difficult time to watch the games but I was looking always at the results and highlights. I was very happy when we won against Fulham and against Manchester United, of course, I was very happy like I’d played (in the game), like I had played for Tottenham! Against Watford we lost and I was very sad. When I saw the highlights, I was very sad about the result but now I’m back finally for Tottenham again, to play in the Premier League, one of the best leagues in the world, my dream and I can’t wait. With Facebook and Instagram, so many things, I can see how the supporters support me. It’s amazing and really, I want to say thank you for that because… I can’t say the words. It’s just amazing, just really, really, ‘thank you’.”
You’ve been seen around Hotspur Way proudly wearing your medal since you’ve been back…
“I wanted to show it to the staff and the players because without them I couldn’t win the medal, so I was really thankful to them. At first when the whistle went in the final it was a bit crazy because I couldn’t believe it. I wanted this medal for my country and it’s just an amazing feeling. Still I can’t believe it. Sometimes I text my team-mates and still we can’t believe it. We say, ‘is it true?’ with some jokes. We are just very happy. I still can’t believe it!”
You admitted that you felt the pain of our defeat at Watford from thousands of miles away. How important is it that we respond against Liverpool?
“Of course, now I’m back here at Tottenham, I’m really looking forward to playing in the Tottenham shirt. The last result was not so great for us and it was a really big pain for me. It’s really important that we bounce back against Liverpool. We have the fans all together and we have a great chance to win. Of course, Liverpool are a very strong team but I think our team is strong as well. We have to believe in ourselves, work hard for each other and we have a big chance to win. Everyone wants to win this game. Now we have some big games coming up – Liverpool, Inter. Of course, it’s a tough schedule and we have to be mentally ready for the big games but we are good enough to win these games.”
You’ve played at the World Cup and the Asian Games this summer, plus you played some matches for us in between. How do you feel fitness-wise?
“Of course, it was a big summer of travelling and playing games. It was a tough schedule but I want to play for Tottenham. For me it’s the best thing to do. I try to be ready. If I am on the bench or if I am playing, I don’t know, but I will give 100 per cent. If I’m on the bench I will be ready to come on, if I’m starting I will do my best until I die. I hope we can win on Saturday against Liverpool.”