THE Philippines is simply glad that Son Heung-Min, considered as the best Asian player to grace in the English Premier League, will not suit up when it plays South Korea in the AFC Asian Cup opener on Monday.
Under a deal with his club Tottenham Spurs in return for his release for last year’s Asian Games, Son will miss sit out in the first two Group C matches.
Even without Son, the Koreans have a stacked roster that the Azkals need to deal in their debut on the continent’s biggest football showpiece at the Al Mak-toum Stadium in Dubai.
Incidentally, Son scored his side’s third goal against Filipino goalkeeper Neil Etheridge in the Spurs’ 3-0 win over Cardiff City in the match that was aired for the Philippine audiences early yesterday morning.
The Azkals will sorely miss the services of Etheridge, who was left out of the 23-man squad owing to his commitments for Cardiff City, in manning the post.
Trying to stave off relegation, Cardiff City is currently placed 16th in the Premier League standings with 18 points.
South Korea, which dethroned Germany in the final Fifa World Cup group match last year, hopes to get the job done without Son against the Philippines and Kyrgyzstan before he suits up in their final Group C clash with China on Jan 16.