Tottenham forward Son Heung-min is yet to score this season and manager Antonio Conte has addressed suggestions that he could be dropped from the Spurs starting XI

Antonio Conte has suggested that struggling Son Heung-min could be dropped despite the Tottenham boss previously making a defiant vow over his place in the side.

The South Korean enjoyed a sensational 2021/22 season, scoring 24 goals in all competitions. That form was enough for Conte to claim that he would be “crazy” to rotate the 30-year-old out of his starting line-up.

Despite that, Son has struggled so far this season and is yet to get off the mark in his first seven appearances. That has led to some calls for the forward to be dropped and replaced by summer signing Richarlison. The Brazilian staked his claim for more minutes by scoring twice against Marseille in what was his Champions League debut.

Ahead of Spurs’ second group game against Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday, Conte has hinted that no player – including Son – is immune from being dropped. This is especially true in attack, where Son and Richarlison are competing for minutes with Harry Kane and Dejan Kulusevski.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, the Italian said: “I think when you try to build something important, when you try to build something with ambition and try to be competitive and fight to win, you have to change old habits. Otherwise, it means you want to stay in balance and it means you don’t want to have ambition.

“For this reason, all the players have to accept the rotation. Especially up front, we have four players. For me, especially it’s very difficult right now to drop one of these four players, but I have to make the best decision for the team, also for the players.

“Sometimes, it’s better to rest and don’t start a game, to come in and play only 20 or 30 minutes and then play the following games. For sure, I’m here to try to change the old habit. The old habit was that the players were used to playing in every game. What happened in this type of situation is that you don’t have great possibilities to win.

“You try to make the players happy, but big clubs have a big squad, a deep squad. In this moment, we don’t have a big squad but we have just started to try to follow this path.

“For this reason, what happens with one of these four players will be normal and you have to know it’s good for a coach like me to have these options.”

This has been Son’s slowest start to a season since his debut campaign in North London. After arriving from German giants Bayer Leverkusen, he netted just eight goals across the 2015/16 term as Spurs challenged for the Premier League title – only to finish third behind eventual champions Leicester and fierce rivals Arsenal.

Since then, though, Son has never failed to hit double figures, with last season representing his most prolific in a Tottenham shirt.

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