Football Language Podcast: Son Heung-min’s Return to Goalscoring (2022-23)

On this short football language podcast for learners of English we look at some of the language used recently to describe Son Heung-min’s return to goalscoring, including, ‘break his duck‘; ‘scoring streak’ and ‘form is temporary but class is permanent. You can read the transcript for this podcast below, while you can also check out our glossary of footballing phrases here and visit our site to access all our previous posts and podcasts. If you have any suggestions or questions then you can contact us at

Football Language: Son Heung-min’s Return to Goalscoring (2022-23)

DF: Hello again everyone and welcome to – the football-language podcast for learners of English who love the beautiful game of football. I’m Damian and I am one of the Languagecaster team and I’m based here in London, while the other team member, is of course Damon and he is in Japan.

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Now, on this very brief football language podcast, I’m going to look at some language used to describe Tottenham and Korean striker Son Heung-min’s return to goalscoring form. He had failed to score in his previous six matches, which for the joint winner of the Golden Boot from last season was a long time without a goal. In fact, we could say that it was a goal drought. Sometimes we might hear the phrase ‘they can’t buy a goal‘ which means a striker has not scored for a long time and does not look like they will score for a long time either; they are in a bad run of goal-scoring form. So, the Korean striker was dropped to the bench for the recent Premier League match against Leicester but came on after 59 minutes to score a hat-trick and go home with the match ball. Has Son broken his goal drought and returned to goal-scoring form? Well, as a Spurs fan, I am hoping the answer is yes!

Stinger: You are listening to (in Mongolian)

OK, let’s take a look at some language to describe this return to form.

Form is temporary but class is permanent

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This football cliche is used when a top player returns to playing well after a period of poor performances. The idea behind this cliche is that a good player can go through some bad times but eventually they will return to being a good player and that we should never really doubt them as their class will always come through. At the beginning of this season [2022-23], Son Heung-min failed to score in his first six league matches and some pundits questioned whether he was at the same level as last year. He then scored a hat-trick from the bench for Spurs and followed that up with a wonderful free kick for South Korea against Costa Rica to suggest that he is back in good goal-scoring form. Now the pundits are suggesting that we should never question the level of top players as their class is always there and that they always find their form. Class is permanent but maybe not all opinions in football are!


We have covered the phrases ‘winning and losing streaks‘ before here on Languagecaster with a streak connected to a run or a number of games. So, for example when a player scores in five or six games in succession (or in a row) we can say that they are on a hot streak or sometimes (though not very often) that they are on a goal streak. If a player scores a lot of goals in a lot of consecutive games but then also fails to score any goals in another run of games we can describe them as being ‘streaky‘ – they have good streaks when they score loads of goals and they have long periods when they can’t buy a goal which of course is a bad streak.

Break his duck

Now, this expression is not so common in football but it means that a player has finally scored their first goal of the season. So, in Son’s case he finally broke his duck in the seventh game of the season. He then of course went on to score his second and third a few minutes later.

Stinger: You are listening to (In Vietnamese)


Now, if you want to ask any football-language questions or simply say hello then you can do so by adding a comment on our site here or by using our forum. Now, we’ve recently had quite a few questions, including the phrase ‘pinch the ball‘ which you can check out on the forum. You can also send us an email at and look out for us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Stinger: You are listening to (in Korean).


DB: Yes, you are listening to languagecaster and that message was in Korean and we’d love to hear from anyone else who might like to share this message, ‘you are listening to‘. It would be great to hear lots of different voices, especially with the World Cup coming up. Don’t forget that there’s a transcript to this podcast and there’s lots of vocabulary support which you can access by coming along to our site. We think it’s a great resource for those learning and teaching the language.

OK, that’s it for this very short football-language podcast in which we looked at some language about the return to goal-scoring form for Tottenham striker Son Heung-min. We explained the cliche, ‘form is temporary but class is permanent‘ and also looked at the words ‘streaky‘ and ‘break his duck‘. Let us know if you know of any other phrases that describe a player returning to goal-scoring form in any language – it would be great to hear from you.

We’ll be back with some more language about the beautiful game very soon. Don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast and to join in the football language conversation. Enjoy all the football. Bye bye!

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