Former Tottenham striker Garth Crooks has claimed that despite Antonio Conte’s insistence that he was merely rotating his starting eleven, the Italian actually dropped Son Heung-min on Saturday due to form.
Son had not found the back of the net and provided just one assist in the eight matches leading up to the clash against Leicester.
Conte made the decision to bench the South Korean, and start Richarlison and Dejan Kulusevski on either side of Harry Kane upfront.
The former Bayer Leverkusen man certainly had a point to prove to the Spurs boss when he came on for Richarlison in the 59th minute, and he did so with style, netting a brilliant hat-trick to help the home side emerge 6-2 winners.
In his post-match press conference, Conte expressed his delight at Son coming back into form and insisted that he will continue rotating his team this season in order to ensure his players remain fresh and are able to compete on multiple fronts (Football.London).
Unsurprisingly, Son was the only Tottenham player to make Crooks’ Team of the Week, with the former Spurs striker remarking that the 30-year-old’s return to form was timely ahead of the North London derby on October 1.
Crooks wrote in his column for BBC Sport about Tottenham’s hat-trick hero: “He waited what felt like ages for a goal and suddenly he scores three in 14 minutes.
“Spurs manager Antonio Conte insisted Son had been rested for the game against Leicester, but the reality was the South Korea international was out of favour.
“What a way to regain your confidence, and at the same time stick two fingers up to the manager. To be fair to Conte he did bring Son on after 59 minutes in the hope that the player might seal the game for Spurs – and that’s precisely what he did.
“Spurs now have options with Richarlison, Dejan Kulusevski and Ivan Perisic available, and Son will have to fight for his place – but this win for Spurs sets up the North London derby beautifully.
“As for Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers, he’ll be lucky to see the international break out.”
Spurs Web Opinion
I can understand Crooks’ point as I do not think Conte would have benched Son if he had found the back of the net against Sporting Lisbon last week. However, in hindsight, the Italian got his decision spot-on, with the South Korean delivering a perfect response after coming on for the final 30 minutes.
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