Neville was RIGHT: Son deserves Mane, Sterling and Salah comparisons

Gary Neville was right… Son Heung-min IS world class: Numbers show that Tottenham star is a cut above Premier League hotshots Raheem Sterling and Sadio Mane… but he still has work to do to match Liverpool talisman Mohamed Salah

  • Son Heung-min has scored nine goals in eight games this season for Tottenham
  • His performances have earned him rave reviews following his excellent start
  • Gary Neville insists the South Korean is ‘underrated’ and doesn’t get recognition
  • Neville compared Son to the likes of Sadio Mane, Raheem Sterling and Mo Salah
  • Statistics back up Neville’s claim that Son is one of the league’s best forwards

Since completing his low-key deadline-day move to Tottenham in 2015, Son Heung-min has put the footballing world on notice after cementing himself as one of the Premier League’s deadliest wingers.

His £21.9million move to White Hart Lane five years ago is now seen as an absolute bargain, having achieved superstar status during his time in north London. 

The South Korean is currently enjoying his best start to a season, with his winner against Burnley propelling Spurs up to fifth to keep them within touching distance of league leaders Everton.

Tottenham star Son Heung-min has become one of the Premier League’s deadliest wingers

His header at Turf Moor took his tally for the season to 10 goals, while he has also set up his team-mates to score four times in nine outings. 

Son’s impressive start has also led to new contract talks, with Spurs hoping to tie him down to another long-term deal and in the process make him one of the club’s top-earners alongside Harry Kane and Tanguy Ndombele.

And while Tottenham recognise the importance of what Son brings to the team, Gary Neville believes the 28-year-old is not getting the full credit that he deserves.

Neville, along with Jamie Carragher, dissected Son’s performance following Tottenham’s 1-0 win at Turf Moor before insisting that he deserves to be compared with the likes of Raheem Sterling and Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

The South Korean headed in the winning goal in Tottenham’s 1-0 win over Burnley on Monday

Gary Neville says Son deserves to be labelled as ‘world class’ following the result at Turf Moor

‘I think Son is so understated and he doesn’t get the glitz of some of the other top players in the league,’ Neville said on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football

‘He is an absolutely amazing player Son, he is a brilliant player. It’d be a nightmare to play against him – he makes all the right runs. 

‘You talk about Sterling regularly, we talk about Mane and Salah at Liverpool, he’s right there with them. If he was at Liverpool or City he’d be doing what those lads are doing.’

Neville added: ‘When Son was out last season he was a huge miss. As I said before the game he doesn’t get the credit. 

‘I think Jose Mourinho was asked a question last week about when does he become world class, Son, and Jose said he was already there.

Neville also believes Son deserves to be compared to the likes of Mohamed Salah (pictured)

Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling (L) and Liverpool forward Sadio Mane (R) are also considered to be the best wingers in the Premier League 

‘They’re (Kane and Son) brilliant together, brilliant players and I think every team in the world would take Son. There isn’t a team in Europe or in the Premier League that wouldn’t take him.’

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher reinforced his colleague’s point, offering that Son would slot into both Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola’s sides with ease.

‘If Sterling or Mane left one of those clubs you’d think Son would be one of the first players Pep Guardiola or Jurgen Klopp would go for,’ the former defender said.

And Neville replied: ‘I absolutely agree and you said that if Mane or Salah was out for Liverpool and they could pick any player in the league it would be him (Son).’ 

It’s extremely high praise coming from Carragher and Neville but, quite importantly, the statistics backs them up.

Since arriving in the Premier League, Son has matched Sterling and Mane’s pace when it comes to goalscoring, having managed a goal every 172 minutes since 2015.

Son has been on fire this season, scoring eight goals in six Premier League games

His first strike against Manchester United helped Spurs go on to record a 6-1 win this month

The minutes-per-goal statistic is made that even more impressive considering Son’s underwhelming debut campaign for Spurs where he almost came close to leaving the club, having struggled to settle in initially. 

Son has scored 27 fewer goals than Sterling and Mane but both have had over 9,000 and 5,000 minutes more respectively to achieve their total of 88 goals.

Leading from the front in both categories, however, is Salah.

Since arriving at Anfield in 2017, the Egyptian has scored 79 Premier League goals for Liverpool while his other two goals came during his time at Chelsea back in the 2013-14 campaign.

Quite amazingly, it has taken Salah just 127 games to reach the total of 81 goals and 29 assists in England’s top-flight – comfortably making him the best winger in the league currently.

However, as the years have gone on, Son has started to figure more prominently in Tottenham’s attack, in which the goal-burden has usually fallen on Harry Kane’s shoulders.

Statistically speaking, Son is as prolific in front of goal as Mane and Sterling but has some way to catch two-time Premier League Golden Boot winner Salah (pictured)

This has usually left Son with the role of assisting his team-mates from out wide during Mauricio Pochettino’s reign, with Jose Mourinho now giving him more license to get in behind defences and showcase his lethal finishing abilities.

Since the beginning of last season, Son has been just as prolific as his City and Liverpool counterparts having managed 0.4 assists every 90 minutes while creating fewer chances than Mane and Salah.

Son has also attempted fewer touches inside the opposition area, showing that he can make just as big an impact in less-threatening positions.

Son’s goal against Burnley saw him combine with Kane to score once again, with the pair’s telepathic connection setting them apart as arguably the Premier League’s best attacking duo.

The pair have now combined for an astonishing 29 Premier League goals, with only Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard’s 36 ahead of them in the all-time table. 

Kane believes a change in tactics has seen him top the assist table rather the scoring one and insisted he is relishing his partnership with the South Korean star.

‘Me and Sonny have had a nice little partnership going recently and hopefully it continues,’ Kane told BBC. 

Son (left) and Harry Kane (right) continue to combine for Tottenham this season

The 28-year-old managed four goals against Southampton in a 5-2 rout at St Mary’s last month

‘I think having more understanding when I’m dropping deep for him to run in behind [is the difference]. It is just confidence as well. Even today it was not an amazing assist but it fell well for Sonny.’

Son remains an integral part to Mourinho’s plans at Tottenham and will be crucial if the club are to mount a title challenge this year.

Just like Salah, Mane and Sterling, Son is crucially important to the team’s success going forward and the stats are there to prove it.

However, while his impact on the pitch rightfully deserves comparisons to the trio, he lacks one important statistic that all the others have: a major trophy at club level.

Should the South Korean star keep up his form and continue his unbelievable start to the season, silverware might just be on the agenda come the end of the season for Tottenham. 

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