Tottenham star Son backed by Neville to emulate Man Utd cult hero Park

The former Red Devils defender admits to having spotted the winger's talents early, with Valencia urged to snap him up before Tottenham made a move

Son Heung-min caught the eye of former Manchester United star Phil Neville early in his career and is now being tipped to emulate Park Ji-sung.

The South Korea international rose to prominence at Hamburg, having joined their academy system at 16 years of age.

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He would go on to further impress in Germany at Bayer Leverkusen and earn a £22 million move to Tottenham in the summer of 2015.

Son is now starring for Spurs in the Premier League and Champions League, with Neville admitting that he is a talent that he has been aware of for some time.

The ex-United and England utility man told Goal: "I first saw Son Heung-min when I was a coach at Man United and he was playing for Leverkusen. He was very impressive.

"And when I became a coach at Valencia, I suggested to sign Son Heung-min. He was the first player I suggested to sign at Valencia. I thought he was a fantastic young player.

“Our owners also knew him well. We needed a winger who has pace and the quality to score a goal. It never happened, but I followed his career."

Neville added on the similarities with his former team-mate in Manchester: "I played with Park Ji-sung at Man United, and they have similar qualities. Their attitude is fantastic. They give energy to their team.

Phil Neville Son Heung min Tottenham

"Park became a legend at Man United - unselfish work, played in big games. Everyone remembers he stopped [Andrea] Pirlo in the Champions League, he was great to play with, a nightmare to play against.  

"I think Son is going the same direction with what Park did at Man United. Maybe Son scores more goals, Park is more of a team player, but they have similar qualities."  

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Son made a slow start to life at Spurs, netting eight times in 40 appearances during his debut campaign.

He emerged as a key figure under Mauricio Pochettino last season, though, finding the target 21 times in all competitions.

The 25-year-old opened his account for 2017-18 by scoring in Tottenham’s 3-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund in their first game of the Champions League group stage.