I’d wanted to write about what the players need do before the weekend when some players would be released, but got busy and couldn’t.
I’ll write for all players now as if they were still at the club:
#3 – Ryu Okada
At the moment he is seen as a versatile player who can cover a number of positions, which is a positive, but one who isn’t really good enough for any of them on it’s own. He needs to find a club which will give him 35 games a season to play in the same position, I would suggest a Makalele-type defensive shield, and learn the craft of that position to improve on his physical attributes.
#7 – Jun Kanakubo
He quite clearly sees himself as a bit of a star on the ball (and to be fair to him he can do some decent things and generally holds possession well), but for me he is most impressive when he is off the ball and trying to win it back. He has the pace and tenacity to close players well behond the initial press from the strikers and wins a lot of turnovers. What he needs to do now is apply that tenacity to when the ball is in our own half. At the moment he doesn’t track back enough to try and help win possession back, rather believing that when the ball is in our half it is ‘someone else’s job’.
#8 – Yuji Funayama
Technically able but sometimes tries to make the ball do too much with Hollywood passes which rarely come off. Would be better off working on his engine and movement to follow a simple team plan and complete 85% of his passes in a match with 10 tackles, rather than always be thinking to play a killer pass diagonally over the top.
#14 – Masakazu Kihara
Kihara has to learn to make the absolute most of his key attribute; pace. I had heard lots of stories about him being one of the fastest accelerating players in the league when he came here, but never really showed it. Unless his injuries have killed his pace he needs to find a club which puts balls into the final third and lets him show his number to the bench. Defenders hate running back towards goal, even more so if against the fastest player in the league, I’ve never seen him do it.
#17 – Chris Kinyo
Take whatever contract it takes to stay at the club knowing that if he puts the hard work in, and listens to the manager then he will be given a chance on the pitch (something unlikely at pretty much any other club in the league where a manager will prefer a 28 year old journey-man).
#20 – Shuto Nakahara
Keep the #20 shirt. Quite a strange piece of advice but Sueyoshi switching to #7, and seemingly looking like he was a senior pro and then getting any better has ended up with the 2nd place Rookie of the year finished as someone who can’t even get on the bench at Sagan Tosu. Nakahara has done very well this season, but needs to keep in his mind that he might only be 50% of the way towards his potential.
#26 – Yuta Mishima
My Player of the Season, let alone Young Player of the Season, there is little more that I could say he should be doing now than what he is already doing. Keep listening to the manager, and sign a 4 year deal to stay at the club. By adding the defensive side to his game he is twice the player he used to be and has the chance of going to the Olympics if he keeps his progression.
#27 – Jang Jong Wong
I’ve never seen him play, so can’t say too much. What I do know is that in Pusnik we have a manager who will play him if he is good enough regardless of age so he isn’t quite there yet. Keep working hard in training and be ready to step up and show something when you get your chance on the pitch.
#28 – Taku Ushinohama
Needs to grow physically to add another dimension to his game. If he looks at the European players in his position like Bale and Ronaldo then he’ll see that at about the age he is now they start to bulk up a bit to give the upper body strength to turn defenders. He needs to be careful not to do it at the expense of his pace, or getting injured, but has to improve physically.
#10 – Hisashi Jogo
Has been a lot more involved in the game this season, I believe as a consequence of playing a variety of positions including central midfield where he is forced to go looking for the ball (if Avispa can offer him that role for 3 years now I think he should think twice about leaving).
One aspect which I always want to see a little different is that he is inclined to run onto balls played through to him, but also needs to run to meet and control balls sometimes. At present defenders are able to work him out knowing that they can take a gamble on intercepting the ball knowing that he will always be looking to run onto the pass rather than challenge for it.
#11 – Daisuke Sakata
There isn’t much I can say to Sakata, he hasn’t scored goals like he did when he first arrived but I can’t see any real reason for that beyond a drop in confidence. One thing I have noticed is a huge improvement in his fitness. He used to only last 60 minutes of a game at 75% of the pace he was going at this season, whatever he has done to last a full game he should keep up.
#15 – Bratislav Punosevac
In Europe he probably didn’t have the huge height advantage which he now does, but having got it in Japan he needs to start being more effective with it.
Especially if he can improve his jumping he will be unplayable for a lot of defences at this level. Work on his back-post play, his knock-downs from long-balls, and be the key man at corners.
#16 – Daisuke Ishizu
Fall in love with assists. He has a good willingness to shoot, and an ability to score which has seen him lead the goal-scoring charts for the club. He is also one of the highest rated dribblers in the division, it would seem like he has it all. Unfortunately he is still missing the ability to play in others, until he gets this he won’t be able to reach the top of the game. Watch videos of people like Bergkamp and Laudrup who knew the ability to play in others was harder than actually scoring. If he remains one-dimensional then defenders will eventually work him out.
#18 – Go Nishida
His first touch is appalling. He can be a good hold-up striker, and one who also has the ability to score with his feet and his head, but too often when the ball comes into him it ends up bouncing 5-8m away.
Once he has possession he is fine, but this gap in his game for controlling the ball is holding him back.
#24 – Takeshi Kanamori
Learn to dribble in places which will hurt the opposition. He has good ability on the ball, but sometimes pulls out his tricks in places where even if he beats a couple of players it doesn’t achieve anything.
By doing that he is just giving the opposition the chance to see what he can do, and maybe make them better at dealing with it on the edge of their box. Look at someone like Mishima; he keeps things simple 85% of the time, but has got assists and won penalties by pulling out his box of tricks when he gets into the final third.