Son willing to risk health to play at World Cup after training in protective mask

JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images

Son Heung-min says he is willing to risk his health to bring joy to South Korea's fans at the World Cup after being pictured training in a protective mask.

Son's participation in Qatar was in doubt when he suffered a fracture around his left eye in Tottenham's Champions League win at Marseille earlier this month, causing him to miss Spurs' last three pre-World Cup fixtures.

However, Son was named in Paulo Bento's 26-man World Cup squad and subsequently declared he would not miss the tournament "for the world".

On Wednesday, Son participated in South Korea's training session in Doha while donning a protective mask, and the forward is prepared to take risks in order to feature.

"I am not a doctor, it's difficult for me to say when I can play. I will do the best I can under the circumstances," Son said.

"From the fans' perspective, I may be pushing this too far, but football players always compete under such risks.

"I just want to give our fans joy and hope. I am more than willing to bear those risks.

"Everyone who comes to the World Cup wants to play well, but it takes more than that. Speaking realistically, it's more important to be prepared for matches than to just have the desire to play well.

"I can't predict the future, but I want to make this a special World Cup, using every last ounce of energy that I have."

While Son's participation in his team's Group H opener against Uruguay on November 24 remains uncertain, the Spurs star already feels at ease wearing his mask.

"I was surprised at first how comfortable the mask was," Son added. "It feels a little different here than in England, because it's hotter here and I sweated a lot today.

"These carbon masks are really light, and they likely won't break. If a mask breaks, it means something has happened to my face, so I hope it doesn't come to that!"