On Tuesday it was the festival of Saint Jordi, as the patron saint is known in Catalonia, and China forward Wu Lei was experiencing his first feast in honour of the dragon slayer. Wu and his teammates braved the rain on Barcelona’s famous La Rambla where they signed autographs for fans. Hopefully, it was not as much of a washout for Wu as it was for the fans in China who had tuned in to watch him play against Levante at the weekend, only to see him kept on the bench by manager Rubi. Fast forward to Wednesday night, all was well again: Wu returned to the starting line-up and scored the opening goal. Chinese striker #WuLei scored a textbook volley for @RCDEspanyol — his second goal in #LaLigaSantander . #Volem #RCDE #EspanyoldeBarcelona #EspanyolCelta pic.twitter.com/kte5MiUMi0 — Global Times (@globaltimesnews) 24 April 2019 <!--//--><![CDATA[// ><!--\n\n\n//--><!]]> Not just any goal either. His finish highlighted why € 5 million (US$5.6 million) might come to be seen as a bargain for what he brings on the pitch, rather than in pitching clients. Wu watched Marc Roca’s lofted throughball all the way before hooking a rasping volley past Ruben Blanco in the Celta Vigo goal. What a goal! ⚽ WU LEI ⚽ #RCDE | #Volem | #EspanyoldeBarcelona | #EspanyolCelta pic.twitter.com/JkFrBUMpui — RCD Espanyol de Barcelona (@RCDEspanyol) 24 April 2019 <!--//--><![CDATA[// ><!--\n\n\n//--><!]]> This is the second goal Wu has scored in Spain and it has been greeted with glee in Chinese media. That is a dramatic departure from the scores of pieces at the weekend – and thousands of comments – bemoaning his bench warming. The consensus seemed to be, despite Spanish sports newspaper Marca ’s suggestion that Wu’s no-show was a tactical decision by Rubi, that the player’s time was somehow done. They cited his teammates unwillingness to play the ball to him in goalscoring positions – Wednesday’s goal and the celebration put paid to that. And if that didn’t, maybe him kissing the Espanyol badge before he was mobbed by his teammates will. Others mentioned the reasonable concern that Wu has not had a rest or a proper preseason as he joined the club at the end of the Chinese Super League season. One thing for sure is his former Shanghai SIPG teammates are missing him. The champions are third on the table and five points behind leaders Beijing Guoan after six games and struggling in the AFC Champions League. Wu Lei @RCDEspanyol Second goal for the Chinese international in #LaLigaSantander ! #EspanyolCelta pic.twitter.com/TPCiJmJxci — LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) 24 April 2019 <!--//--><![CDATA[// ><!--\n\n\n//--><!]]> Perhaps, unavoidably, Wu is being compared to South Korea’s Son Heung-min, the Spurs striker regarded as the best Asian footballer of all time. When it comes to carrying a nation’s hopes in European football, Son and Wu are in a similar position. Wu carries the pressure of being the only Chinese footballer in any one of Europe’s top five leagues, with the added pressure of the media scrutiny that comes with it. Son, on the other hand, is the most high-profile Asian footballer playing and also the most valuable. Espanyol tied Levant 2:2 in the La Liga match today. For the first time after joining Espanyol, Wu Lei stayed on the bench for the whole match. Many Chinese fans having turned on their TV/laptop are disappointed. Rookie wall? pic.twitter.com/oTbC1UC5em — Titan Sports Plus (@titan_plus) 21 April 2019 <!--//--><![CDATA[// ><!--\n\n\n//--><!]]> His performances for Spurs this season, at 26 years of age, have been his best yet and he has guided the club to the semi-finals of the Uefa Champions League semi-finals where they will face Ajax, although he misses the first leg through suspension. But it wasn’t always this easy for Son – and that is where the comparison goes from lazy to useful. Son moved to Germany to sign for Hamburg as a teenager, before developing at Bayer Leverkusen and then on to Spurs, where he admits to struggling in his first season. He admits he struggled initially in London. He joined in the January transfer window, providing two goals and an assist in his first 11 games. La sensación del Sant Jordi perico: Wu Lei. En el stand del #rcde en Rambla Catalunya. Buena iniciativa la suya. El equipo se entrena por la tarde. Mañana partido ante el Celta. pic.twitter.com/hxHHl23YM9 — Quique Iglesias (@qiglesias) 23 April 2019 <!--//--><![CDATA[// ><!--\n\n\n//--><!]]> In comparison, Wu has been involved in 13 La Liga games, starting in nine, scoring twice and laying on one assist. When Son won the London Footballer of the Year last month he told the Evening Standard he “came close to leaving” and asked to return to Germany before being convinced to stay by manager Mauricio Pochettino. It echoes what he told The Telegraph in 2016, when he said he did not know if he would return to the club after representing South Korea at the Olympic Games, when Pochettino said he would not allow it. Fifa 20: Spurs’ Son Heung-min leads Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi in vote for cover star The boss has been rewarded for his belief in Son and the player has developed into one of the finest in world football, something that may not have happened if he had returned to Germany. There is clearly nothing for Wu or his fans back home to worry about. Thankfully for Espanyol and Rubi, Wu appears to have no such existential crisis. “This goal gives me more confidence,” Wu said after Wednesday’s game, while expressing his disappointment at the team dropping two points in their quest to qualify for the Europa League. It might be early days, but he could do worse than to keep calm and copy Son.