Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville has hailed Heung-Min Son after the Tottenham forward shared the golden boot with Mohamed Salah – and heaped praise on manager Antonio Conte for delivering Champions League football.
Spurs secured fourth spot with a 5-0 victory at Norwich which saw Son score twice to move level on 23 goals with Liverpool’s Salah on the final day of the Premier League season.
Speaking on The Gary Neville Podcast, the former Manchester United defender admitted he named Son as his Player of the Season because he “deserved something” to show for his individual efforts.
Read on for his verdict or listen to the podcasts below…
‘Son is a special player’
“I named Son as my Player of the Season. It could have easily gone to Kevin De Bruyne because every time we watch him we’re blessed. Salah, easily could have been Player of the Season, I think I named him in other quarters.
“But Son, to do what he’s done at Tottenham, he does get respected, and he’d be taken by any top club in the world, but I thought he deserves something.
“He’s a special player. He gets overshadowed by everybody, even Harry Kane, but well done to him, Tottenham and Antonio Conte.
“We were at the North London Derby 10 days ago and even if Arsenal had beaten Newcastle, I still think Antonio Conte would have stayed because of what he experienced that night. Where are you going to get this competitive element, these atmospheres in Europe at this moment in time? You’re not.
“He’s done a brilliant job at Tottenham, he’s been assisted by the capitulation of Manchester United and the fall of Arsenal but he’s done a good job and was always going to. I’m very clear that he isn’t the right manager for Manchester United but you can say someone’s not the right manager for your club but he’s still a great manager.
“The others have got Tuchel, Conte, Klopp and Guardiola – they’re animals, they win trophies all the time. They stand on the touchline and can almost eat you alive with their presence and aura. The rest have a long way to go.”
‘I worry for Burnley’
“No one thought Leeds would win at Brentford but you’ve got to hand it to them. They’ve delivered a performance on the final day of the season under the most extreme pressure.
“Leeds and Burnley were under an extreme amount of pressure because it isn’t just sporting disappointment but at the bottom the economic disappointment is devastating. What’s going to happen to Burnley now? A leveraged buyout, talks of the £65m needing to be paid back very quickly. Leeds would have been in significant trouble as well from the finance side of things. That was where the real pressure was on the final day.
“Well done to Leeds, they’ve been a great addition to the Premier League in this last couple of seasons from a point of view in the way in which they’ve played, particularly under Bielsa. They’re a famous club, a big club.
“Burnley, under Sean Dyche, deserves a special mention. He kept Burnley in the Premier League longer than probably anyone could have ever imagined with the resources they could call upon. They sacked Sean Dyche and it’s not worked out.
“It will be a sad town in Lancashire today, you wonder when Burnley will return. The parachute payments give you a far greater chance of returning to the Premier League than before, but you just wonder where that money is going to go with that leveraged buy-out. Is that money going to go into the team to invest or pay off debts or loans? I’m a little bit worried about Burnley in terms of the next steps. It’s a little bit concerning.”