By Noel Whelan

20th Sep, 2022 | 11:55am

Expert salutes Antonio Conte masterstroke after what he's just seen at Tottenham

Noel Whelan has hailed Antonio Conte’s decision to drop Son Heung-min after he scored a hattrick from the bench to ensure a 6-2 win for Tottenham against Leicester City on Saturday (17 September).

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the 30-year-old has put “speculation” to bed about Richarlison succeeding him in the side long-term.

Conte dropped Son to the bench against Leicester City after he failed to score in Tottenham’s opening seven games of the 2022-23 campaign.

The forward, who won the Premier League Golden Boot with 23 strikes last season, netted three goals in just over 13 minutes at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday (17 September).

Spurs are yet to suffer a league loss in the new campaign and sit third – just a point adrift of league leaders Arsenal.

Whelan insisted Son is back “at his best” after a “tough start to the season”.

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He told Football Insider’s Ewan Kingsbury: “Everything he touched hit the back of the net.

“Everyone was speculating about Richarlison taking his place – but good players don’t turn bad overnight.

“That was Son at his best. He just had a tough start to the season.

“Sometimes taking a back seat, sitting on the bench – that can give you a different mentality and make you think: ‘I’ve got a point to prove’.

“Oh my goodness, he’s given Conte something to really think about and ultimately it proved a very good decision to keep him on the bench.”

In other news, Football Insider updates as Tottenham enter advanced talks for new deal.