While many footballers are spending their days during the coronavirus lockdown trying to keep fit, mastering video games or conducting garden P.E. lessons for their children, Tottenham star Heung-min Son has rather different plans.
The South Korean has been given permission by Tottenham to return to his homeland and take advantage of the break in the football calendar by completing an obligatory period of national military service.
But what does it actually entail?
Here’s all you need to know…
I thought Son had an exemption?
That’s right. When Son captained his country to success at the Asian Games in 2018, the entire squad were given a pardon from the 21-month service that all able-bodied males under the age of 28 are supposed to complete.
However, everyone still has to take part in a four-week run of basic training, though Son is expected to do his with the marines, where the course lasts only three.
Where will he be training?
Son’s training is set to take place on a naval base on Jeju Island, south of the Korean Peninsula. The island boasts a 6,400ft volcano called Hallasan, which is also the highest mountain in the country, and has a milder climate than the mainland at this time of year.
What will he have to do?
Well, before anything else, get a trim. All military recruits must have a sensible, tidy haircut of a few centimetres in length, but the marines insist upon an even shorter, shaved cut. According to reports, the hair is kept in sealed bags to be sent to the families of soldiers killed while on duty in situations where their bodies are irretrievable.
South Korean platform Naver suggests a whole host of intense exercises then await, including close combat sparring, weapons training and crawling under barbed wire - none of them ideal, given Son has just returned from a broken arm. One of the activities that the 27-year-old may find ‘easier’, given his Premier League fitness, is a 6-7km march in full combat gear weighing around 24kg.
First-hand accounts tend to agree, however, that the most daunting part of the entire experience is an exercise which involves navigating a sealed building filled with tear gas, which trainees enter wearing masks but are then told to take off by instructors.