A star striker who committed his future to Tottenham Hotspur delivered a memorable result on Sunday, but questions remain about the one who may leave town.
Heung-min Son scored a terrific goal as Spurs beat reigning champions Manchester City 1-0 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on a day that Harry Kane was not in the 18 at all.
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Son said Kane’s in no danger of losing his place as Spurs’ center forward, and new boss Nuno Espirito Santo told NBC’s crew of Arlo White, Lee Dixon, and Graeme Le Saux that he expects the superstar back in the fold.
“Harry didn’t join us today because he joined us late,” Espirito Santo said of Kane’s prolonged summer run with the England national team.
“He’s preparing himself to help the team. Harry is one of the best players in the world and we are fortunate to have him.”
Now does “help the team” mean fetch a massive transfer fee? That remains to be seen.
Espirito Santo’s side deployed a compact, counter-attacking tactical plan that left Man City without dangerous shots at goal as Jack Grealish and Ilkay Gundogan got little help in producing chances until Kevin De Bruyne arrived off the bench.
The Spurs boss was pretty darn happy.
“Action after action, I think we were well-organized,” Espirito Santo said. “It’s very tough against Man City. It requires a lot of discipline.”
Son was impressed with how Spurs deployed Espirito Santo’s systemm.
“Sometimes when you don’t have the ball you’re frustrated but we were not today,” Son said. “Unbelievable performance. I scored the goal but it was an incredible team performance.”
The South Korean star soaked up the signing and applause on the field well after the final whistle, a fitting cap to a weekend in which supporter noise reminded all of us just what we were missing during the closed-door stadia of the COVID-19 pandemic’s height (may it not return).
“I don’t have to say anything because you could feel it,” Son said. “They give us so much support, so much quality of energy. It must’ve been more than 12 months. I really enjoyed it and missed them so much.”
Both Son and Espirito Santo stressed the import of staying positive and building something special as new pieces are integrated into Tottenham and, perhaps, some skip town.
“Still a long way to go but most of the things the boys did well,” Espirito Santo said. “It’s been good and hard work. We are knowing each other better and it is about creating this energy between us to keep us moving forward. There is always something new and always something to improve.”