Son Heung-min has revealed he he was “scared” during his first visit to England as a teenager in 2009 – he also hailed his “idol” Park Ji-sung for paving the way for Asian players in the Premier League.
Son Heung-min had a trial at Portsmouth and Blackburn back in 2009 after being released by German side Hamburg.
Of his first experience in the country, Son, now 25, told the Daily Mail: “Yeah, I had no friends there, no family with me and I couldn’t speak the language.
“I didn’t know a single word. I was on my own and I was scared, you know. It was tough.
“I had a trial at Portsmouth and one at Blackburn, too. They put me in a guest house. But I was a kid and I didn’t know anything.
“So that is my first memory of England and it is a bad one.”
Son eventually rejoined Hamburg, where he spent three years before blossoming during a two-year stint at Bayer Leverkusen. From there he joined Tottenham, and has grown into one of Mauricio Pochettino’s regulars.
Son added that he counts former Korea international and Manchester United midfielder Park among his idols, in part because of what he’s done for Asian players in the Prem.
“I can’t compare to Ji,” he said. “He is a legend and my idol. They are still so proud of him at home.
“It’s difficult for an Asian to play in the Premier League. It still is. And he was the one who did it first so it was even harder for him. I am still hoping to play like him and bring fans like him and have an impact like him but I am not there yet.
“He was here and consistent for seven or eight years. I have to aim for that. He played at a club with Rooney and Ronaldo and Giggs and still got in the team