Spurs’ man of the moment Heung-Min Son has credited two Dutch masters for his success in European football.
The Korean attacker has been in deadly form of late, contributing 12 goals in his last 11 games for club and country with 8 goals and 3 assists. That was the form that saw Sonny named Premier League Player of the Month for September, the first Asian to ever win the award:
Son only came to White Hart Lane from Bayer Leverkusen in August last year, but travels back to Germany this week as Mauricio Pochettino’s side prepare to face the Bundesliga outfit in the Champions League on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old may have 5 goals in 7 appearances for the North London outfit this season, but he doesn’t take all of the credit himself. Son recalls it was two Dutch legends who helped him become the player he is today:
“At 16, it was difficult. When I came I knew no English and no German, nothing,” recalls Son, who was at Hamburg before Leverkusen.
“But I wanted to play in Europe, this was my goal and I came to achieve my goal. The first year was really difficult because I didn’t know any friends. No-one came with me. I felt so alone and so humble because everyone was helping me, but it was tough.
“Sometimes I missed Korea. It’s my home and everyone misses their home when they are not there. But I wanted to play professional football in Europe and this was what I had to do.
“Ruud van Nistelrooy helped me a lot. He saw my first training session and he talked to me. He told me I was a good player. He gave me confidence and I want to thank him for that. We had a really good team and were successful for a time with him.
“Also Rafael van der Vaart came and he helped me. He told me more about English football and how tough it was. I was only young. I listened to him and tried to learn from what he was saying.”
Van der Vaart is somewhat of a cult hero at White Hart Lane, having powered Harry Redknapp’s infamous 2011 Champions League side through a nostalgic first ever campaign.
The 33-year-old scored 28 goals in just 78 games during his 3 seasons in England, and Spurs fans can now credit him with even more having helped sculpt one of the most potent attacking threats in the country of recent times.
However, Sonny is remaining down to earth as ever:
“It’s a special game and a special day for me tomorrow against my ex-team. My goal is to get three points. It will be a difficult game. Leverkusen a good team, very high quality and my goal is get three points. We don’t come to lose the game. We come for three points and that’s it.”
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