Ange Postecoglou hailed the professionalism of Tottenham captain Son Heung-min ahead of his club return for Saturday’s visit of Brighton.
Son suffered Asian Cup disappointment with South Korea on Tuesday as they lost 2-0 to Jordan at the semi-final stage.
The South Korea skipper cut a dejected figure at full-time, but was quickly back on a plane to the UK and trained on Friday to make himself available for Spurs’ fixture with Brighton.
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Postecoglou said: “It wouldn’t surprise anyone to see him be like that.
“He was very, very disappointed with Korea’s exit because they haven’t won it for quite a while and after they got past Australia, when you get to the semi-final stage, you feel so close.
“But anyone who watched the tournament (knows) he gave everything for his nation and didn’t leave anyone questioning his commitment to his country.
“He was spent by the end of it but I spoke to him not long after it and he was keen to come back, get amongst the boys again. He was keen to come back here.
“It didn’t surprise me that he wanted to train straight away and be available. That’s why he is the person he is.”
The return of 12-goal Son is the latest boost for Tottenham, who had Pape Sarr involved at Everton and will have Yves Bissouma available for this weekend’s clash with his old club.
Bissouma endured a mixed Africa Cup of Nations campaign with Mali after he struggled with illness, but Postecoglou provided an update on his fitness.
He explained: “Yves had a slight form of malaria before the tournament started, but it cleared up after the tournament started. He had no issues after that.”
Manor Solomon (knee) and Ryan Sessegnon (hamstring) are the only players on the treatment table at Tottenham, but ex-Fulham attacker Solomon could return by the end of February.
Postecoglou is excited to have his options in midfield and attack boosted ahead of the final three months of the season.
Spurs start a run of three consecutive home matches when Brighton visit, but the away side will be without manager Roberto De Zerbi, who has a touchline ban to serve following his third yellow card of the campaign in last weekend’s win over Crystal Palace.
“It’s disappointing that Roberto won’t be there because I’ve got a lot of time for him and a great respect for him,” Postecoglou added.
“It’s the existence we have as managers these days. I think I’m one card away from sitting in the stands, so I shouldn’t cast judgement on others.
“So disappointed he won’t be on the touchline but hopefully I’ll get to say hello to him at some point.”