South Korea's Son set for a quick turnaround for World Cup

SEOUL, South Korea — Son Heung-min had a long, tough season with Tottenham in the Premier League, needing painkillers to get through the last few games.

He hasn't got much time to recover ahead of the World Cup, but that's not bothering him at all.

The South Korea star can't wait to get to Russia and get a chance to renew acquaintances with Germany.

Son enjoyed a successful season in England, scoring 18 goals for Tottenham, although he admitted that he was tired as he arrived back in Seoul.

"I really played a lot this season, but luckily I had no big injuries and gained some experience," he told reporters in the South Korean capital. "I did take painkillers for the last six weeks to play in matches, but there aren't footballers who are free from injury. I'll take some rest this week, and I'll be fine."

South Korea starts a training camp next Monday to prepare for its World Cup group games against Sweden, Mexico and Germany.

Son started his professional career with Bundesliga clubs Hamburg and Bayer Leverkusen before moving to England in 2015 and is looking forward to taking on the defending World Cup champions.

"I don't know which German players will compete against us, but I know I'll talk with some German players after the match," he said. "It was my dream to play against Germany on the big stage, so I need to be very well prepared for the match."

Son was part of the South Korean squad that collected just one point from three games at the 2014 World Cup. The 25-year-old forward, who has scored 20 goals in 63 appearances for the national team, understands the need for a better performance in Russia.

"I know people are concerned about our World Cup performance, but I want them to know that we're doing our best to meet their expectations," he said. "I think if we can just pass the group stage, that will be a success. I'm really desperate for this World Cup."

South Korea is warming up for Russia with games against Honduras on May 28 and Bosnia-Herzegovina on June 1. The squad will travel to Austria for a final training camp and friendlies against Bolivia and Senegal.

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