Tottenham Hotspur's Son Heung-min says an ankle injury has hindered him from recapturing his best form from earlier in the season. The 24-year-old was named the Premier League player of the month for September after four goals and an assist helped Spurs maintain their unbeaten start to the domestic season.
But upon returning from October's international break he has failed to continue that run, going six games without a goal, while the north London club are winless since beating Manchester City. Son has racked up the air miles too this term having represented South Korea at the Rio Olympics and he has headed back to his homeland this week for their international double-header.
South Korea face Canada in a friendly in Cheonan on Friday [11 November] before travelling to Seoul to take on Uzbekistan in a vital World Cup qualifier next week. Son is critical to their chances but he hopes a return to the international fold can spark an upturn in form which he can take back to Tottenham. The blow is the second injury to be revealed this week after full-back Ben Davies revealed he will be out for a number of weeks with an ankle injury of his own.
"It's true that I've struggled after winning the award because of an ankle injury," the Tottenham man told reporters, according to Reuters. "But it's not just me; the whole team is having a difficult time. With the national team, your strong mindset matters more than your form. I came here to win."
A winless October has seen Tottenham, who face West Ham United after the international break, fall off the pace in the bid to build the foundations for a bid to win the Premier League title this season. Mauricio Pochettino's side are five points adrift of leaders Liverpool after 11 games, with Chelsea, City and Arsenal all ahead of the White Hart Lane club.
Son must however turn his attention from his club's shortcomings to his country's, with South Korea facing Uzbekistan next week with their World Cup place hanging by a thread. The 2002 co-hosts are third in their group and outside the automatic qualification places for Russia 2018, but know victory over the Uzbeks will see them jump into the top two.
"We know the importance of the match," he added. "Uzbekistan are a good team and that's why they are in the second place. There are no easy opponents in the final round, so we'll have a difficult game against Uzbekistan. We know we can take better position with a win, so we will prepare thoroughly."