Son Heung-min among four players to miss Japan game
Tottenham Hotspur star and Taeguk Warriors captain Son Heung-min will not join the Korean national team for a friendly against Japan on Thursday, the Korea Football Association (KFA) announced Sunday.
Son was added to the national team roster last week, despite suffering a hamstring injury during Spurs' North London derby against Arsenal on March 14.
The likelihood of him actually being able to join the squad was always under question, with Taeguk Warriors head coach Paulo Bento admitting when the squad was announced that it was unclear how badly Son was injured.
Son has missed two games for Spurs since his injury, a crushing 3-0 defeat that saw Tottenham crash out of the Europa League on March 18 and a 2-0 victory against Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday.
The Korean captain's inability to join Spurs for the Aston Villa game likely guaranteed that he would miss the international fixture as Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho had made it clear earlier in the week that if Son was not fit enough to appear for his club, he shouldn't be expected to play for his country.
The KFA announced in a short statement on Twitter on Sunday that Son was excluded from the entry due to a hamstring, along with Um Won-sang of Gwangju FC with a ligament injury and Ju Se-jong of Gamba Osaka, who tested positive for Covid-19.
The three players will be replaced with Cho Jae-wan of Gangwon FC, Lee Jin-hyun of K League 2 club Daejeon Hana Citizen and Kim In-sung of Ulsan Hyundai.
The team took another blow on Monday, when the KFA announced that Yoon Bit-garam was out with a calf injury and would be substituted by Ulsan teammate Lee Dong-kyung.
The absence of captain Son is a big blow for the Korean national team ahead of the game against local rivals Japan, but Son isn't the only player who's injury could be an issue for the squad.
Ju is a regular feature in the national team, with 28 international caps, as is Yoon, with 15 caps and three goals. The loss of the two, as well as rising star Um, could cause the Taeguk Warriors some issues.
BY JIM BULLEY [firstname.lastname@example.org]