DOHA, QATAR –
Son Heung-min wore a mask while training with the South Korean team on Wednesday ahead of the World Cup in Qatar and later expressed doubts about his ability to start the tournament because of a facial injury.
The Tottenham striker has not played since November 2 when he broke a bone around his left eye after a collision with Marseille’s Chancel Mbemba in the Champions League. Son underwent surgery two days later, raising concerns about his World Cup readiness.
According to South Korean news agency Yonhap, the carbon mask Son wore during practice at the Al Egla Training Base in Doha had his jersey number – 7 – written in white on the left side.
Speaking at a press conference after training, Son said “it is difficult to say when I will be able to play.”
“I will do my best in this situation,” Son said according to Yonhap. “But it’s hard for me to say right now that I’m going to play every game.”
Korea’s first match in Group H is against Uruguay on November 24, Portugal and Ghana are also in this group.
Son said he is willing to take “risks” with his health.
“From a fan perspective, I may have pushed this issue too far. But football players always have to play under such risks,” added Son. “I just want to give the fans joy and hope.”
The South Korean team’s coach, Paulo Bento, said over the weekend that Son’s condition is being analyzed day by day by medical staff.