‘A lot of that running is without the reward’ – Postecoglou lauds ‘outstanding’ Son

Ange Postecoglou believes Heung-Min Son will be considered one of the Premier League’s best ever forwards by the time his career is over and hailed his work ethic during a difficult run of form.

Son has thrived in the central striker role at Tottenham this season, scoring nine times in the first 14 league games having played much of his Spurs career to date out on the left, with Harry Kane instead occupying the centre-forward position.

But Kane’s departure for Bayern Munich in the summer has seen Son shift from out wide to down the middle by his new boss Postecoglou, who also praised the 31-year-old’s work rate and willingness to run off the ball during a run of four games without a win for his side.

“He’s been outstanding and I knew that before I got here,” Postecoglou said.

“Just working with him every day and the example he sets, as a person as much as a footballer, is just outstanding. It’s inspiring for me when you see a person who, for all intents and purposes, has climbed the mountain many times in terms of his own football pedigree.

“Every day, he loves what he does, and every day he feels it’s a blessing and that rubs off on other people.

“He plays the game like that. He runs around like he’s a kid, literally, just chasing balls down. For me, that still inspires me and I feel very grateful to be working with him.

“The definition of leadership is what you do when the chips are down, when things aren’t going well, because invariably everybody looks there. They look at your leaders, what are your leaders doing?

“I think he’s just got this thing in his head that ‘whatever they say about me good, bad or otherwise, I’m not going to stop running through this period’.

“That has an effect on people because a lot of that running is without the reward. He doesn’t get a reward for just chasing the ball down but if your leader and your best player is doing that then me, as a team-mate, I can’t not do it. I have to follow that lead.

“Through this period, we’ve had to sort of dig deep and we’re still not out of it, we’re still going through it, and he’s a force in showing us the way forward.

“I think he’s elite in every aspect of attacking players who have played in the Premier League. I’ll be very surprised if by the time he’s finished, which is well down the track, he’s not up there as one of the outstanding strikers.”

Spurs will remain without key players Micky Van de Ven, James Maddison, Pape Sarr as well as several others for their clash with West Ham on Wednesday, but will welcome back Cristian Romero from suspension.

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