Son Heung-min has exchanged messages with Andre Gomes and says he will use the Everton midfielder’s injury as personal motivation.
It was the South Korean’s tackle in Tottenham’s 1-1 draw at Goodison Park on Sunday that led to Gomes breaking and dislocating his ankle.
Son, who made a genuine attempt to play the ball, was inconsolable when he saw the extent of the injury and needed support from Spurs in the aftermath, which made him a doubt for Wednesday’s trip to Red Star Belgrade.
However, Son – who was sent off for the tackle but later had the red card overturned by the Football Association – wanted to get back out on the pitch and will be glad he did after scoring twice in the 4-0 win that puts his side on the brink of the Champions League knockout stages.
The two goals have done little to ease Son’s guilt, but he is determined to use the incident as a positive having been in touch with Gomes.
“I text him, it’s been a really tough few days for me,” Son revealed. “I text him before I flew and he text me back. I still feel really, really bad about this. I feel really sorry.
“Football is a sport where something [like this] can happen, nobody wants to see this situation.
“I’m so sad this happened and that I was involved with this situation. It’s been a really, really tough few days.
“I just text him to say best wishes to you, I’m really sorry for you, your family and your team-mates.”
On his return to action, he added: “I have to respect that this is what I have to do, what I love to do. I realise how lucky I am.
“Of course, Gomes got the injury but the people around me sent me really, really strong messages.
“My team-mates and even Everton fans as well, as well as Tottenham fans, even from South Korea.
“I’m really, really grateful for that. Still, I feel really sorry about this situation, but on the pitch I want to work for it because the team needs especially positive energy.
“I tried to work out this situation. I want to send the message that I’m really grateful for all the messages from every single supporter.
“Of course, it’s really difficult to say this, but I’m really grateful and I realise how lucky I am.
“I want to pay them back on the pitch. That’s all I can do. I want to respect him [Gomes] as well, and this is how I show respect – by working harder than in the past.”
It was also a good night for Giovani Lo Celso after he scored on his first start for the club, three months after joining on transfer deadline day.
The Argentinian said: “I have been waiting a lot after I got injured, but I am enjoying this moment and would like to thank my team-mates and the staff.
“I am starting to adapt well. I had a small problem with the injury with the national team, but I am back and more importantly I now feel well and have completed my first game for the club.”
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