Ange Postecoglou has stated that winning games is his top objective, and he has hinted that he will likely keep taking Son Heung-min off as games wind down if he thinks it will benefit the club.
Son has been replaced late in games on more than one occasion this season, despite being the club captain of Tottenham.
The 31-year-old has reportedly experienced groin problems recently (The Athletic), and some have speculated that Postecoglou withdrew him in the latter stages of games to prevent him from suffering a serious injury given the forward’s fitness concerns (Evening Standard).
Son also played the full ninety minutes for South Korea in their 6-0 victory against Vietnam last week, scoring in the second half.
Ange Postecoglou explains why he has been substituting Heung-min Son
Although the forward’s limp throughout that game may have worried some Spurs supporters, he is anticipated to be fit to start against Fulham this evening (Football.London).
Postecoglou recently responded to a question regarding Son’s recent inability to play the full 90 minutes for Spurs by saying, “As long as he’s still scoring goals, man, I couldn’t care. He has six goals to his credit and recently scored for South Korea. Son’s character has helped him get where he is. Given that you take all of these things in their proper context, I won’t adjust his portion of that.
You may certainly learn something from individuals like them. The beauty of my situation is that every time I embark on this adventure, I meet new people, and I learn from each and every one of them. He takes good care of his physical well-being, and he is aware of his body.
“I changed the lineup [against Arsenal and Liverpool] because, mate, I wanted to win the game. I’m aiming to win games, not take care of the guys. I don’t care who it is if I think substitutions will enable us to accomplish that. It makes no difference who that is—Son, James Madison, or someone else.
“In the games we’ve played so far, we’ve simply required different things, and you make those judgments based on who is available to come on. It’s acceptable if their allotted gaming time is 70 minutes. I’m overjoyed about that.
Son, a 31-year-old who wants to win as badly as everyone else, is very much a team player and not someone who will likely toss his toys out of the pram if and when he is removed. Evidently, Postecoglou is working to promote that mentality within the team.