South Korea’s Hwang Hee-chan hopes Son Heung-min’s Golden Boot-winning performance in the Premier League can inspire him to raise his game to similar levels after an inconsistent debut season at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Tottenham Hotspur striker Son became the first Asian player to win the Premier League’s top scorer award, sharing the honour with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah after they both scored 23 goals this season.
That contrasts with a mixed debut campaign at Wolves for Hwang, who netted five times in the Premier League after an impressive start following his move on loan from RB Leipzig in August.
“I am proud of the way he represents the country, when there are so few Asian players (in the Premier League),” Hwang said of South Korea captain Son.
“Whenever I see him, it motivates me to play as well as he does. And I would love to keep getting better and challenge his record.
“I think a lot of football players see Heung-min as their role model, and I respect him a great deal as a fellow athlete.
“Since we play in the same league, I congratulate him whenever he scores, but at the same time, I want to play better myself. I don’t want to just say, ‘He’s great,’ and stop there.”
Hwang scored four times in his opening six league games for Bruno Lage’s side, prompting Wolves to make his switch permanent in January, but the forward managed to score just once over the remainder of the campaign.
“Athletes all experience slumps, and how you overcome them is really important,” Hwang said.
“I’ve always admired the way Heung-min shakes off criticism. He sets a great example to follow.
“There were some matches where I felt I had played well but I didn’t have any goal or assist to show for all the work. To take the next step, I should be able to execute team plays and still produce goals and assists.”