Son Heung-Min sorry for leaving Tottenham to play in Asian Games
Son Heung-Min admits he has mixed feelings about leaving his Tottenham teammates to take part in the Asian Games at the start of the season.
The 26-year-old is one of three overage players who has been named in South Korea's under-23 squad for the tournament, which runs from Aug. 14 to Sept. 1.
Spurs had no obligation to release Son. But if he wins gold with his country -- who won the last edition in 2014 -- he will be exempted from his impending 21-month military service.
Tottenham, who have just given Son a new five-year contract, have agreed that he can travel to Indonesia after their opening Premier League match at Newcastle on Aug. 11.
"I feel sorry because Tottenham is my team and I feel very sorry to be leaving my teammates," said Son. "I am playing for my country and that is also important, but honestly I feel very sorry about that. That is what I feel.
"We can talk about [the national service] afterwards. We haven't won it already. We are going there to win something, and winning trophies for my country is always good. I don't travel there for nothing."
Victory at the Asian Games would also help Son to get over his World Cup heartache.
He broke down in tears when South Korea were eliminated in the group stage, having lost their opening two matches against Sweden and Mexico -- although they went on to beat Germany in their third and final game.
"It was disappointing but we finished well against Germany," said Son. "Our country was happy because they were No. 1 in the FIFA rankings and the defending World Cup champions.
"For me, the tournament was disappointing because I always expect more than the group stage. I wanted to stay longer than we did. But it was a good experience to play at the World Cup and I look forward to playing in another in four years."
Tottenham's Harry Kane won the Golden Boot in Russia, scoring six times, and Son said: "Harry Kane is one of the best strikers in the world. That is why he has won the Golden Boot twice in the Premier League and once at his first World Cup.
"He deserved it as well because he worked really hard. He will come back with a lot of confidence and I think he can win another Golden Boot."