Son Heung Min is Asia’s Beckham, says Spurs manager Pochettino
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino heaped praise yesterday on Son Heung Min, saying he regarded the South Korean superstar as Asia's answer to David Beckham.
The forward, 27, was undoubtedly the focus of attention for fans in Shanghai, China, where Spurs play English Premier League rivals Manchester United in an International Champions Cup clash today.
Pochettino's side, beaten by Liverpool in the final of the Champions League last season, arrived in China from Singapore, where Son was similarly feted.
"We can see how people love Sonny in Asia, he's an icon. We joked a bit, but I compare him with David Beckham," said Pochettino.
"But I'm not surprised and it's good to see how people love him and how important he is to people."
The Argentinian manager, who will be expected to mount an EPL title challenge with his side this season, praised the way that Son bounced back from a difficult first year in England.
Son joined the Londoners from Bayer Leverkusen four summers ago.
In his debut season, he showed only flashes of his potential and was linked with a move away from Spurs.
But he has since gone on to become a key player and was outstanding last season, scoring 12 goals in 31 EPL matches and racking up seven assists.
"He is a good example for all the fans and people, not only here in Asia but in the whole world," Pochettino said.
"His first season was tough, it was tough to adapt to England, to new football, new culture, new habits.
"But, after the first season, his adaptation was unbelievable and he became a very important player for us."
Son, who was mentioned by some experts as a potential Player of the Year award winner in the EPL last season, added that the Spurs players "deserved" to win a trophy this season - something that has eluded them under Pochettino since he arrived at the club in 2014.
"Seeing how hard the players work, how professional we are, I am so proud of this team," he said.
"Until now, we don't have anything. It's tough, but we are looking forward to being successful. I am sure we can do better than last season." - AFP
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