Son Heung-min: Tottenham striker enjoys hat-trick of match-winners, but is he back to form?


Son Heung-min’s hat-trick of 13 came in the second half

After scoring 23 goals last season, Tottenham’s Son Heung-min has kept a clean sheet in these first six games of the season.

This led manager Antonio Conte to decide to bench the South Korean forward for Saturday night’s home game against Leicester City.

But, with the clock ticking down to 59 minutes, Conte reversed himself and called on the influential 30-year-old with the game firmly in the balance at 3-2.

Less than 30 minutes later it was 6-2 and Son became the first Tottenham player to score a Premier League hat-trick off the bench with a devastating 13th minute blast.

He curled a right-footed effort into the top corner from 25 yards before finding the bottom corner with his left foot from 20 yards and curling in a deflected shot after the video assistant referee overturned the offside decision.

Former Tottenham midfielder Jamie Redknapp told Sky Sports that Spurs have a “chance to achieve something”.

Meanwhile, Chris Sutton, speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live’s 606, said “Spurs have the best striker” in the Premier League.

Spurs finished joint-top of the league with Manchester City, and their 17 points from seven games reflect their best start to a Premier League campaign.

So far Son has found the new season “difficult”, not conceding 17 shot attempts, but netting as a substitute for the first time since 2017 has taken a huge weight off his shoulders.

“It was an amazing feeling,” he told BBC Sport.

“I couldn’t believe it [when I scored]. All the frustration and what I had, the despair and the negative feeling was gone. I couldn’t move, so I stood still. It really made me happy.

“Football is crazy sometimes. Sometimes the ball didn’t want to go in and three times [it did today]. It changes everything. I learned a lot during this difficult time. I have to work hard every time to have a chance.

“Three lucky goals and I’m very proud.”

He told Sky Sports he was “overwhelmed” by the support he had received, as he felt he had “let down” teammates, fans and coaches this season.

Former England defender Matthew Upson was part of the BBC Radio 5 Live commentary team at the game and said Son “came to prove a point and he’s certainly done that”.

Redknapp added: “They say form is temporary and class is permanent. He’s a very, very special player and that’s the right way to react.

“He’s a perfect example of what to do as a player and you have to say Conte did well. Amazing cameo.

“Everybody deals with pressure differently and it’s obviously been difficult for them.

“You can’t promote it, you have to follow it. A player can influence how the club is run and Son has shown the perfect response.”

Conte said he was “really happy” for Songa and added that he joked that “maybe we can repeat this experiment”.

Whether in the starting line-up or off the bench, Premier League defenses will need to be aware of Sona again.

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