SEOUL (AFP) – Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min will miss South Korea’s friendly against Japan this week because of injury, the Korea Football Association (KFA) said. Star striker Son’s controversial international call-up after limping off against Arsenal in the Premier League eight days ago had threatened to set up a club-versus-country showdown.
The hamstring injury forced Son to sit out Spurs’ Europa League defeat to Dinamo Zagreb last week and Sunday’s Premier League win at Aston Villa.
“If a player cannot play for the club he cannot play for the country,” Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho insisted. But in a short statement issued late Sunday, the KFA said Son would be “excluded” from the squad for Thursday’s game in Yokohama because of the injury.
Clubs are usually obligated to release their international players for FIFA-sanctioned matches.
However, FIFA’s availability rules have been temporarily modified because of the coronavirus pandemic and clubs are allowed not to release players for international duty depending on travel restrictions in their respective countries.