Tottenham forward Son reveals Olympic Games hopes

Date published: Wednesday 11th May 2016 11:31

Son Heung-min: Has hopes of going to Brazil

Tottenham forward Son Heung-min faces an anxious wait to find out if his club will grant his wish to play at the Olympic Games this summer.

Son is eager to represent South Korea in Rio and is one his country’s star players but participation would seriously curtail his contribution for Spurs at the start of next season.

Tottenham are under no obligation to release Son as the Olympic Games is not currently part of FIFA’s international calendar.

South Korea play their first group match against Fiji on August 4, with further games coming against Germany on August 7 and Mexico on August 10. The tournament’s final is not until August 20 – a week after the 2016-17 Premier League campaign starts.

Last year, Tottenham’s pre-season began on July 4, although with Euro 2016 taking place in France this summer it is likely some international players may not return until later that month.

Son would likely therefore miss a hefty chunk of pre-season, which Mauricio Pochettino considers crucial to his first-team plans, as well as scheduled friendlies in Melbourne against Juventus on July 26 and Atletico Madrid three days later.

If South Korea were to reach the Olympic final, Son will be running out at the Maracana Stadium the same weekend Tottenham play their second league fixture of the campaign.

Son, however, is keen to play in a competition that he skipped in 2012, choosing instead to concentrate on his club career at Hamburg.

“We’re still waiting for the decision so I can’t say anything,” Son said.

“It’s a very nice tournament and competition, and every player wants to go to play there.

“I’ve played in the World Cup and Asian Cup and I haven’t played in the Olympics. We’ll see what happens.”

South Korea manager Uli Stielike opted not to call up Son for World Cup qualifying matches against Lebanon and Thailand in March, in the hope Spurs might return the favour this summer.

Olympic squads can only include players under the age of 23 but Son, who turns 24 in July, can be one of three over-23 players named as wildcards.

Winning an Olympic medal would also grant Son exemption from a two-year period of military service – compulsory for all citizens in South Korea – which the forward is yet to complete.

Son joined Tottenham from Bayer Leverkusen in a deal worth £22million last summer but after scoring three goals in his first three games, a foot injury stalled his progress.

He has returned to Pochettino’s starting line-up in the last two matches against Chelsea and Southampton, and scored twice, but believes his best form at White Hart Lane is yet to come.

“I think it’s harder than what I think,” Son said.

“This season, I think I’ve been a little bit unlucky. I start very well, got injured and then getting fit took a long time.

“I’m very happy because I enjoyed this one year in Tottenham. We played for the title. I enjoyed the time.”

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