Former Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has claimed that allowing Son Heung-min to play at the Asian Games last season saved the forward's career at the club.
Spurs were under no obligation to release Son as the Asian Games are not part of FIFA's calendar, but they allowed the South Korean to miss three matches at the start of last season and for another spell in January at the Asian Cup.
South Korea's success in the former tournament earned Son exemption from the mandatory 21-month military service enforced by his native country, and Pochettino believes Tottenham's decision to let him go is underappreciated.
"With Harry Kane injured, Son not playing the first few months because of the Asian Games, no one talks about that," Pochettino told the High Performance Podcast.
"Today, Sonny is at Tottenham because we allowed him to go and play two competitions that weren't compulsory, not being selfish and saying, 'No, Sonny needs to stay here'.
"Because of the club. If not, two years and you need to stop the contract with Son. No one says anything about that. It was our decision to provide him the time to go."
Son went on to score 20 goals across all competitions in 2018-19 - the second-highest single-season tally of his career.