Interviews

Asia 50 Exclusive: South Korea’s surging superstar still can’t believe he’s in the Premier League

Despite all of his achievements, including taking out top spot on FourFourTwo’s Asia 50 for the second time, Korean superstar Son Heung-min still can’t quite believe he is playing in the English Premier League.

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Son, who is having a superb season with Tottenham Hotspurs, can count multiple Premier League player of the month, AFC Footballer of the Year and Korean Footballer of the Year awards among his many accolades.

He was even named in Hamburger SV’s All-Time XI by Bundesliga.com earlier this year and can also now boast being the first two-time winner of FourFourTwo’s annual Asia 50.

There are so many good players in the Premier League, that even when you don’t play you can just watch and learn something

- Son Heung-min

Undeniably a star on the rise, Son admitted in an exclusive interview with FFT that the fact he is even playing in the EPL still feels surreal.

“It was a dream to play in the Bundesliga, but even more so to play in the Premier League,” said Son, who represented Bayer Leverkusen and Hamburger before moving to London.

“When I heard of Tottenham’s interest I told the manager I wanted to move to England and I had to take my chance. I had watched so many Premier League games as a child.

“I knew it was going to be difficult, I knew it was a tough league, but I had a good feeling [about Tottenham]. I think I made the right choice.

“There are so many good players in the Premier League, that even when you don’t play you can just watch and learn something.

“I can’t believe I’m playing in the Premier League – it’s just a dream.”

I was always confident I could be a success here, especially with all the players and coaching staff of Tottenham behind me

The voting for FourFourTwo’s fourth annual Asia 50 list was cast much wider this year, taking in our most comprehensive stable yet of global Asian football experts.

While there were plenty of contentious decisions to be made, the overall winner was never in question.

The only player to appear on every ballot, Son finished some distance ahead of runner-up Aaron Mooy of Huddersfield Town and AZ Alkmaar winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh.

At the age of 25, Son is still improving at a rapid rate and is already being discussed among the very best Asian players to ever feature in the Premier League or Europe as a whole, despite having so much of his career still to unfold.

He concedes there were some shaky moments after the £22 million switch to England in 2015 that made him the most expensive Asian player ever, but he always believed in his ability to cut it in the world’s most competitive league.

I want to get better and better and better and better – that’s why I keep working hard in training

“The first game, at Sunderland, my performance was not so good and a few people were worried, saying the change was too early,” he recalled.

“But I was always confident I could be a success here, especially with all the players and coaching staff of Tottenham behind me.

“The next week we played Crystal Palace at White Hart Lane – my home debut – and I scored, which was a great, great feeling.

“I want to get better and better and better and better – that’s why I keep working hard in training.

“The gaffer (Mauricio Pochettino) and the team have helped me go maybe one or two steps further than before and I’m really thankful for that.”

[NEXT: Son and Korea's tough World Cup task]