Son Heung Min aiming to go one better than Park Ji Sung, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Son Heung Min aiming to go one better than Park Ji Sung

Spurs attacker will have shot at Champions League final glory against Liverpool

The first time an Asian played in a Champions League final 10 years ago, a 16-year-old Son Heung Min woke up at 4am South Korean time to cheer him on.

Park Ji Sung ended up on the losing side that day as his Manchester United team were beaten 2-0 by Barcelona.

Barca again denied Park in European club football's showpiece in 2011, this time by a 3-1 margin.

Son will aim to go one better than his trailblazing compatriot when his Tottenham Hotspur take on Liverpool at the Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday morning (Singapore time).

The 26-year-old told British media: "It was so big in South Korea because Park was the first Asian to play.

"I watched it as a football fan and, of course, you are dreaming about good things.

"I am always dreaming about good things like winning something or being the best player...

"It's a late kick-off in South Korea, or rather an early time in the morning, so I'm really grateful for every single bit of support and every single message I receive.

"It's not that easy . I did it a few times when I was a child. You go to sleep early and you wake up at four o'clock or whatever.

"Some people have to go to work. So, I'm really grateful to the people who get up. I respect them. That's why I always give 100 per cent."

While Son is grateful for the bleary-eyed support of his compatriots, teammate Danny Rose is just happy that his manager has proven him wrong.

The 28-year-old made headlines two years ago for questioning why Tottenham did not compete with their English Premier League rivals to sign top players, saying they recruited unknown players who he had to look up on Google.

Spurs have not signed anyone since Lucas Moura in January 2018 and have repeatedly been outspent by their rivals, but Rose now sees the value in manager Mauricio Pochettino keeping a tight squad together and being careful about upsetting the balance, reported Reuters.

"Since I've been at the club, being in a Champions League final has never ever entered my thought process," said Rose, who joined Spurs from Leeds United in 2007 and first qualified for the competition in 2010.

"We've got to one League Cup final and two FA Cup semis, we've huffed and puffed in the league and ultimately never come close.

"Now we're 90 minutes away from maybe lifting the Champions League, I never thought that could happen at Tottenham.

"It shows you anything can happen in football."

That sense of togetherness has come in handy in the team's dramatic path to the final, from overcoming a disastrous start in the group stage to sneak into the knockout round to beating the mighty Manchester City and overhauling a three-goal deficit against Ajax Amsterdam.

Said Rose: "Despite what I may have said in the past, the manager believes in his way, we're all behind his way and look what it's brought us.

"It's brought us to a Champions League final (and) another year of Champions League football next season.

"A lot of credit should go towards the manager."