Football Daily presenter Joe Thomlinson believes that not only has Son Heung-min performed below his usual high standards, but the South Korean has also been standing out amongst his Tottenham Hotspur teammates this year.
Spurs made hard work of earning another three points at the weekend but remain unbeaten and just a point off the Premier League summit.
However, one player who has been considerably off the boil this term is the often-reliable Son. The 30-year-old is yet to score in six appearances this season and has been criticised for his displays just a few months after securing a Champions League place with Spurs as well as the Golden Boot.
He said: “Son is miles off his usual level. Of the five games I’ve watched, he’s probably been the worst Tottenham player in every single one.”
TIF Thoughts on Thomlinson’s comments and Son’s start to the season…
It looks like Son’s blip in form was in danger of turning into a slump before an encouraging display on Saturday. While Thomlinson’s claim came prior to this, it will likely take more than one promising showing to appease his doubters.
To be fair to his critics, the reasons for Son drawing reactions such as Thomlinson’s were not without justification. Antonio Conte showing faith in the winger is no surprise given his goalscoring exploits last season, and it would be a big risk to leave him out altogether, while it may be a case of having to play himself out of his current form.
That said, he has not directly contributed to a goal since the opening day and may have been sweating over his place in the team after being replaced at Nottingham Forest by the impressive Richarlison, who should in theory be less accustomed to this Spurs team.
How many goals will Son score this season?
Less than 10
So that could suggest pressure makes him perform and that Son has reacted well enough for Conte to maintain his slot in the starting XI. And with the Champions League returning and a trip to Manchester City in the next week, perhaps this is the spark required to see Son return to his best, as Thomlinson’s brutal claim really had come at a time that looked as if it could not get much worse.