Son Heung-Min is most underrated player, not most improved

Sports

Garth Crooks says that Son Heung-Min is the Premier League’s most improved player, but the former Tottenham man has completely missed the mark with evaluation of the South Korean.

Your performances must get substantially better over the course of a moderate time period to be considered the most improved player. That is certainly not the case for Son, who has played at the same élite level since the start of the 2016-17 season.

Son definitely has a strong claim as the league’s most underrated player, though.

Crooks, who played for Spurs between 1980-1985, said in an interview with the Evening Standard, “I have said before that I think Son is one of the most improved players in the Premier League and against Everton he proved it once again.”

I’m not sure what version of Son he’s been watching over the last two seasons, but the 25-year-old South Korean is one of Spurs most consistent players, and has been for almost two seasons.

Sure, he took a while to adapt and acclimate to the Premier League, scoring four goals in 28 appearances during his début season with Tottenham.

Since, though, Son is producing at a consistently high rate, and is usually on Mauricio Pochettino’s team sheet, appearing in 22 of 23 league games this season.

Son’s consistent contributions

In 2016-17, Son scored 14 goals and added six assists in 34 appearances. And it’s not just the number of goals he scores, but the importance of them. He’s a clutch performer who elicits the best from his teammates.

The affable Korean is his nation’s top scorer in the Premier League; he is one of the primary reasons Spurs were in the title race for most of the 2016-17 season and bagged his momentous 20th goal in a Tottenham shirt earlier this season.

After a trivial blip at the start of this season, Son has picked up where he left off in May. He didn’t score in the first seven matches of the 2017-18 campaign, but has bagged eight goals while adding four assists in the 15 games since. Oh, and Son has scored in five consecutive home Premier League matches, matching Jermain Defoe as the only other Tottenham player to achieve that feat.

To further emphasize my point, Son has won the Premier League Player of the Month award twice in less than two seasons – in September 2016 and April 2017.

Surely those numbers reflect his unerring consistency, contradicting totally Crooks’ most-improved-player assertion. If anything, his viewpoint confirms just how underrated and undervalued Son is across the league.

But the gaffer, teammates and supporters understand acutely his importance to the side, and it’s time the rest of the Premier League sees the light when it comes to our favourite Son.

(This piece originally featured on Tottenham HQ. Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

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