Banged up or not, Son Heung-min says missing matches at home ‘unacceptable’


SUWON, South Korea, South Korean captain Son Heung-min was forced to sit out his team's friendly against Tunisia last Friday while nursing a groin injury. But he wasn't going to miss another match in front of his adoring home supporters. The beloved star would have been beating himself up otherwise.

And there he was Tuesday night, contributing a goal and an assist in South Korea's 6-0 rout of Vietnam at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, south of Seoul.

This performance came some 24 hours after South Korea head coach Jurgen Klinsmann dubbed Son "a question mark" for the tilt.

"As a football player, getting injured is part of the game. There's nothing we can do about it," Son said. "But not playing in front of fans in South Korea was unacceptable for me."

Son said he'd discussed his status with head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and asked the bench boss to put him in the starting XI.

"I want to thank the coach for respecting my decision, even though I didn't train much during this camp," Son added. "If we don't want to expose ourselves to some contact in a competitive match, then we shouldn't be playing football. We all love physical aspects of football. I was banged up a bit in the first half, but it was not a big issue at all."

South Korea have now won three straight matches, after going winless in Klinsmann's first five matches in charge. Son said the winning streak has arrived at an opportune time, not to mention the 10-goal outburst this month that began with a 4-0 win over Tunisia last week.

"I think we certainly deserve credit for scoring 10 goals in two matches. It doesn't matter who the opponents are. It's always positive when you can score 10 times," Son said. "And we even missed a few chances. If we can polish our finishing, then I think we will be even better on offense. Our collective confidence is riding high after these three wins."

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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