Heung-min Son has won his race to be fit for South Korea’s World Cup opener against Uruguay, boss Paulo Bento confirmed.
There were huge fears that the Tottenham winger could play a limited role in Qatar after suffering a fractured eye socket at the start of the month.
The 30-year-old required surgery to fix the problem with the forward missing Spurs’ last four matches before the World Cup break.
Despite concerns over his injury, South Korea were prepared to take a gamble on their skipper as they ruled out leaving him out of the 26-man squad.
Son returned to full training last week to give his nation a boost as he wore a protective face mask.
And Bento has revealed that the ex-Bayer Leverkusen star has done enough in training to convince him of a starting spot in South Korea‘s match with Uruguay on Thursday.
Speaking in Wednesday’s press conference, he said: “Sonny can play. Yes he will be able to play.
“I think the fact that he would be wearing a mask is not an inconvenience for him. It is rather natural for him.
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“We have stuck to the plan since we arrived here and also the way we integrated him into our group shows it has been natural.
“We will see tomorrow how it will be.
“Our hope is he will feel comfortable to the greatest extent possible and we’ll use the best strategy so he will feel at ease during the game.
“But he knows and we know that we cannot rule out any risks.”
Uruguay manager Diego Alonso discussed Son when he faced the media as he refuted claims his side will target his vulnerability around his face.
He remarked: “It is difficult to answer your question.
“The question is about Son and we have utmost respect for Son, but they have other footballers and are very well coached with exceptional starting XI.
“The only advantage we will make here is our football.
“We will try to be better than them and use our players, not to use the difficulties of the other team.”
Son is bidding to become just the second South Korean player to score in three World Cups after Park Ji-sung.
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