Son Heung-min has been backed to rediscover his best form by incoming South Korea coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who believes a difficult situation at Tottenham has hampered the attacker.
Son has endured a poor season with Spurs, scoring just five Premier League goals after sharing the Golden Boot with Mohamed Salah last term, and his troubles have carried onto the international stage.
The forward wore a protective mask at last year's World Cup after suffering a fractured eye socket ahead of the tournament, where he failed to net in four appearances.
Son produced another ineffective performance as Spurs exited the Champions League against Milan on Wednesday, leaving the future of boss Antonio Conte in serious doubt.
His new international coach, however, retains faith in Son's ability to bounce back, saying: "I'm a big fan of Sonny. There's no doubt. He had a very difficult World Cup because he was not 100 per cent healthy.
"Obviously I saw all the games and I felt for him, but I think this is a normal period and every player goes through little up and downs. Also, the situation at Tottenham is sometimes not so easy.
Spurs 0-0 Milan: Tottenham needed at least one goal to have any chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals. They ended up attempting just two shots on target, with one of those in the 93rd minute. pic.twitter.com/ntlO8eZMY1— Opta Analyst (@OptaAnalyst) March 8, 2023
"I hope that I'm going to see him in two weeks and he comes with a smile and is hungry for the national team."
Klinsmann was named as Paulo Bento's successor last month, with the Portuguese coach stepping down after a 4-1 defeat to Brazil in the last 16 at the World Cup.
Asked how he would approach the role at his unveiling on Thursday, the former Germany international said: "Obviously, my personal background was a striker, so I always love to attack, and that means I’d rather win a game 4-3 than 1-0.
"But at the end of the day, I think a coach always has to adapt his approach and his philosophy to the people around him, mainly the players.
"So based on who you have as players and what capabilities your team has, you need to adapt that philosophy to your approach."
South Korea will face South American opposition in their first two outings under Klinsmann, with Colombia and Uruguay their opponents for friendlies later this month.
March 9, 2023