Son Heung-min: Tottenham’s treble hero at Burnley, a role model on and off the field

If Tottenham fans were wondering where the goals will come from after the departure of Harry Kane last month, they may now have their answer.

The Spurs recovered from Lyle Foster’s early opener to Burnley won 5-2 at Turf Moor The victory was due in large part to the deadly display of finish from captain Son Heung-min.

It was South Korea’s fourth hat-trick in the Premier League – and their fifth overall – and their first since Tottenham’s 6-2 win over Leicester City in September last year.

Son failed to find the net in Tottenham’s first three league games of the season, but his sloppy performance against Vincent Kompany’s side suggested the striker’s goalscoring instincts were still intact after a disappointing 2022-23 season.

“It’s a very special moment, because it’s not easy, to score three goals in the Premier League,” Son told BBC’s Match of the Day after the match. “I’m very happy to get the three points in a difficult place.”

“Sonny was fantastic,” added coach Ange Postecoglou of his captain. “He led our press today – and then he had the quality to take his chances.

“I am really happy for him.”

Driving from the front

And as Postecoglou pointed out in his post-match recap, Son’s prolific performance did more than just score.

The 31-year-old has led Spurs’ high pressing, scoring more sprints than any of his Spurs teammates (27), while only Dejan Kulusevski and Destiny Odoji have scored more intense runs than the forward (288).

He also applied more pressure (49) than any other player on the field, 11 of which resulted in turnovers in possession.

Son was, as always, in a down-to-earth mood after the match, praising his team-mates and expressing his frustration at Tottenham’s slow start to the game.

He said, “Away from home, we cannot concede any goal (within) ten minutes, but the way we responded was amazing.” “Everyone was involved.

“We want to have the ball, and everyone was moving in the right direction. It looked like we had a lot of space but we were creating space.

“I’m the captain but I have great players around me. They help me a lot – my job is really easy.”

Heung-min Son celebrates after scoring a hat-trick in Tottenham's 5-2 win over Burnley in the Premier League.
Son’s hat-trick was his first since Tottenham beat Leicester City 6-2 at home last season

The feel-good factor is back at Tottenham

And it was by no means false modesty from Son, who wasn’t the only Spurs player to catch the eye at Turf Moor.

Twenty-year-old Odoji was once again superb at left-back, winning the ball back in the run-up to scoring several goals and setting up James Maddison’s impressive third.

madison, Arguably Spurs’ outstanding performance so far this season, James Trafford forced a fine save before beating the Burnley goalkeeper with his shot into the net, while Yves Bissouma and Manor Solomon also shone.

However, the aforementioned quartet and his team-mates could not wish for a better captain in Son, who leads by example on and off the field.

“He was a great captain with the way he presented himself every day in training,” Postecoglou continued.

“He has all the characteristics. He can play in any system, but the way we play is perfect.”

Postecoglou’s quick, attacking style is certainly paying off so far, helping to rediscover the joy factor that ebbed under previous coaches Nuno Espirito Santo, Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte.

“There’s a lot of pressure playing in a Premier League team,” Son added. “But sometimes you forget how important it is to be happy, to enjoy football.”

“I try to be an example, I try to smile and take responsibility on and off the field.

“But we still want to move forward and try to improve.”

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