Tottenham attacker Son Heung-Min has said that comparisons should not be drawn between him and South Korean football legend Park Ji Sung. Son did, however, admit that he was scared when he first visited England in 2009 and hailed Park for having paved the way for Asian footballers to succeed in Europe.
Son has established himself as an important and respected player of the Spurs team and has come to be regarded as arguably the best Asian footballer at the moment. He first visited England in 2009 to undergo trials after being released by Hamburg.
When recalling that experience, he said (as quoted by ESPN):
“Yeah, I had no friends there, no family with me and I couldn’t speak the language. I didn’t know a single word. I was on my own and I was scared, you know. It was tough.
“I had a trial at Portsmouth and one at Blackburn, too. They put me in a guest house. But I was a kid and I didn’t know anything.
“So that is my first memory of England and it is a bad one.”
Son eventually ended up re-joining Hamburg where he went on to spend the next three years. After that, he went to Bayer Leverkusen where he spent two years and blossomed into a different player before linking up with Spurs.
When asked if he feels established at Spurs, he said:
“I try to be but I don’t think so. Harry and Dele [Alli] … I just tell people that I play with them … that’s enough for me.
“All I do is practise every day, every session, and hope to learn. Look at Harry. I watch him train and he scores from everywhere, it’s ridiculous. I want to be at that level and I have done some OK things. I have scored some goals, but that is not everything, is it? Football is more than that.
Asked about comparisons with Manchester United legend Ji-Sung Park, he said:
“I can’t compare to Ji. He is a legend and my idol. They are still so proud of him at home.
“It’s difficult for an Asian to play in the Premier League. It still is. And he was the one who did it first so it was even harder for him. I am still hoping to play like him and bring fans like him and have an impact like him but I am not there yet.
“He was here and consistent for seven or eight years. I have to aim for that. He played at a club with Rooney and Ronaldo and Giggs and still got in the team.”
Do you think Son can go on and become a legendary figure like Ji-Sung Park?