South Korean national soccer team's new head coach Jurgen Klinsmann attends a news conference at National Football Centre in Paju, South Korea, March 9, 2023. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
(Reuters) - South Korea coach Juergen Klinsmann will look to lift Son Heung-min out of his on-going run of poor form when the Tottenham Hotspur striker joins up with his national team for the German's first matches in charge later this month.
Klinsmann was officially unveiled as Paulo Bento's replacement as South Korea head coach at a press conference in Seoul on Thursday and the 58-year-old outlined his desire to bring an end to Son's current slump.
"I'm a big fan of Sonny," said Klinsmann of a player who finished joint-top scorer in the English Premier League last season. "He had a difficult World Cup because he was not healthy.
"I saw all the games and I felt for him but I think this is a normal period. All players go through ups and downs. The situation also at Tottenham is not so easy.
"I hope I'm going to see him in two weeks and he comes with a smile and is hungry for the national team."
Son scored 23 times for Tottenham in the Premier League last season to finish level at the summit of the scorers' chart with Liverpool's Mohamed Salah but since then the 30-year-old has only netted five times in the league.
He was forced to play in a protective face mask during the World Cup after sustaining an eye-socket fracture playing Marseille in the UEFA Champions League weeks before travelling to Qatar and his performances were subdued.
Son's form has continued to fall short of his previous standards since returning from the World Cup, where the Koreans were knocked out in the last 16 by Brazil.
Klinsmann is hoping he can use his own experience to help reinvigorate Son when they meet up for Korea's friendly matches against Colombia and Uruguay on March 24 and March 28 respectively.
"I will get to know him much, much better and I can give him encouragement and motivation to enjoy himself in whatever role and however he plays on the field," said Klinsmann, who had two spells with Tottenham during his playing career.
"That is down to those conversations. You figure that out when you talk to the players, what is everyone's best role and how you can cover each other."