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Tottenham's Son Heung-min ready to make up for lost time at Asian Games

Son Heung-min cannot thank Tottenham enough for allowing him to play in the 2018 Asian Games.
Son Heung-min and his South Korea teammates are now exempt from mandatory military service following their 2018 Asian Games triumph.

Son Heung-min is anxious to make up for lost time at Tottenham and is relishing the challenge of battling Lucas Moura for a starting berth in the biggest matches.

Son missed three of Spurs' fixtures, including the 2-1 defeat at Watford, while winning gold with South Korea at the Asian Games and earning exemption from military service.

"I felt very, very sorry [about leaving]," said Son, who returned to club action as a substitute in Saturday's 2-1 defeat against Liverpool.

"It's my team. I've played for three years with my heart and I've missed four weeks of this season. When I saw the result against Watford especially, I hurt the same as the team who played in it.

"Now finally I'm back and it's very important to make some positive energy and give the team a bit of energy. Our squad is strong. Sometimes you play, sometimes you're on the bench, but I need to be ready for my chance and for my team."

During Son's absence, his fellow forward Lucas scored three goals in the space of two matches against Fulham and Manchester United and won the Premier League's August Player of the Month award.

"I was very happy," said Son. "Lucas deserved it for how he played at Old Trafford. I saw how he played. He scored a lot of goals and was very dangerous.

"Of course, competition makes the players better. I'm still hungry to make something and play in my position."

Pochettino has stressed his personal role in Son's gold medal success, revealing it was his decision to release the forward for the Asian Games and suggested he deserved a present for his generosity.

"My managers at Hamburg and Leverkusen didn't let me go [to the tournaments in 2010 and 2014], so I'm really thankful for the gaffer," said Son. "He took the risk.

"I made it but without him and without his choice, I couldn't have won the gold medal. I'm really thankful for that. I'm just thinking of a present for my gaffer."

Son played eight international matches in 26 days during his time away from Spurs, first for the Under-23s at the Asian Games and then for the senior side in friendlies against Costa Rica and Chile.

But he insisted: "I feel alright. There's been a lot of travelling and a lot of games. But if you get an injury, you want to play and you can't, so I'm just enjoying playing games.

"Physically it's not a problem. Mentally I'm also ready. We'll see during the [coming] weeks how many times I can play. I feel very good. I'm hungry to play again with my Tottenham shirt.

"The Asian Games was very busy. Of course I was happy to be back with a great result. No-one expects that it's a tough competition for us. [They think] Under-23s in Asia, we should beat every team, but it's not like that. It was a very difficult tournament, very tough.

"It was very important, but you know [avoiding military service] was not my goal in winning the gold medal.

"I'm looking forward to playing for Spurs and I'm still hungry to make some history for our country. Of course I'm in a better position now after the Asian Games.

"I can't say if it was the best moment [of my career]. There's been many things -- many, things at Tottenham, many best memories. But it was beautiful."

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