Pundit highlights Son Heung-min super-sub ‘problem’ after Tottenham Hotspur’s win vs West Ham United
Former Tottenham Hotspur defender Alan Hutton has opined that Son Heung-min would not want to be labelled a super-sub on a regular basis.
The South Korea international was benched for just the second time this campaign when the Lilywhites faced West Ham United last Sunday in N17. Assistant manager Cristian Stellini saw fit to start Dejan Kulusevski and Richarlison in attack alongside Harry Kane.
Son was introduced into the game around the 68th-minute mark with the score at 1-0 courtesy of a second-half goal from Emerson Royal. The former Bayer Leverkusen scored just four minutes after entering the pitch.
The first time he was left out of the starting XI in a Premier League game this season was when manager Antonio Conte benched him for the clash against Leicester City in September 2022.
He came on and casually scored a hat-trick as we cruised to a 6-2 win against the Foxes at home. After his heroics against the Hammers, Spurs’ official account posted a video of Son’s goal and titled it ‘Super-sub Son>”.
This was perhaps a tongue-in-cheek comment given how vital Son is at Spurs and how he is almost never left out of the starting XI. Yet, it raised questions if this could be a new role for the 30-year-old going forward.
According to Hutton, this isn’t a tag that will please Son. The South Korean superstar, like other players, would want to be a regular rather than a player who is introduced late in matches. Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Spurs defender said:
“The problem is nobody wants to be tagged with that, to be a super sub, because everybody wants to play. I do not think he will do it more often. He has had a little slump in his form probably due to the amount of football that he has played.
“But you are going to have dips in form and sometimes the best thing is to take him out, just for a little rest, to then bring him on and impact the game. That is exactly what he did. His bar is set that high that you expect him to play at that level week in week out.”
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Spot on. This was probably a rest for Son given how thick and fast the games are coming, especially because of a mid-season FIFA World Cup tournament, where Son represented South Korea despite a facial injury. We can expect him to return to the starting XI for the crunch league game against Chelsea at home this weekend.