Tottenham Hotspurs player Son Heung-min has said that he frequently loses sight of the ball while playing while wearing a protective mask, but he claims he continues to do so out of worry for his parents.
Son scored in Spurs’ 4-0 rout of Crystal Palace on Wednesday night in just his second League game of the year, and Antonio Conte is certain to play him again when Portsmouth visits in the FA Cup third round today.
The South Korean threw off his mask as he celebrated his goal at Selhurst Park, which he described as a weight off his shoulders.
His goal came less than a week after his team’s New Year’s Day loss to Aston Villa.
Son told reporters, “My vision is still OK, but it’s sometimes annoying because I can’t see the ball because of the mask when it’s coming to me. Although it doesn’t annoy me, it’s not the best.”
He continued, “I was frustrated against Villa because after receiving the ball, I lost it unexpectedly because I couldn’t see it. I was merely irritated.”
Son has now said that he only keeps the mask on because his loved ones fear he would take another blow to the face.
Son has been playing with a mask ever since having surgery to repair a fracture around his eye socket before the World Cup, and he admitted that his friends and family are worried about the possibility of him suffering another facial injury.
Son, who won the Golden Boot award in the Premier League last season, had only scored in one league game up until Wednesday’s lightning hat-trick against Leicester.
Son acknowledged feeling sorry for his teammates and Spurs supporters due to his sharp decline in form.
Although Conte has stated he does not view the FA Cup as one of the best prizes available, Spurs are attempting to win it for the first time since 1991.
Tottenham has a long history in the FA Cup, but the eight-time champions haven’t had much success there recently.
Son was part of the South Korean squad that plays in the just concluded FIFA World Cup in Qatar, he was the team captain who guided his nation to the knockout stage before being defeated by Brazil in the Round of 16.
Under Mauricio Pochettino, Spurs made back-to-back appearances in the semi-finals in 2016–17 and 2017–18, but they were eliminated in the fifth round the next year and the two seasons after that.
They were humiliated by Middlesbrough, a Championship team, last season. But since 1975, Tottenham has hosted League One team Portsmouth and has won all 43 of its home FA Cup matches against teams from outside the top tier.