Son Heung-min hoping to avoid nearly two years of military service with Asian Cup win 1 year ago

Son Heung-min hoping to avoid nearly two years of military service with Asian Cup win

Son is facing a compulsory stint of military service in his homeland

For the second time this summer, Tottenham's Son Heung-min will represent his country at a tournament. Weeks on from South Korea bowing out of the World Cup at the group stages - taking Germany with them - their Under 23 side has travelled to Indonesia ahead of the start of the Asian Games.

For Son, there's quite a lot riding on it. Anything less than a gold at the tournament and Son will be required to do nearly two years of military service back in his homeland - understandably a significant blow to both his club and a player approaching the peak years of his playing career.

Every physically-able South Korean man, irrespective of their fame or fortune, is required to enrol with the country's military by the age of 28 and serve a minimum of 21 months. However, exceptions have been made for some of the nation's sportsmen in the past after success at the Olympic Games or the World Cup (as was the case with former Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-sung and his teammates in 2002).


Son turned 26 earlier this summer and has been permitted to play in the Asian Games as one of three wildcards. The likes of Japan, Saudi Arabia and Iran - other major nations competing in the tournament - have opted against selecting players over the age of 23.

Son missed the last Asian Games tournament after Bayer Leverkusen, his club at the time, refused to allow him to participate. As the competition is not a Fifa tournament, clubs are not obliged to release players.

Spurs have given their blessing for him to take part, however, knowing full well that they had to in order to give themselves a chance of avoiding being without him for nearly two years.

South Korea begin the tournament as favourites and will be defending the title they won four years ago.