After the disappointment of signing Suzuki Jun earlier there was some good news today as the news which I reported last week became official and Hokuto Nakamura was signed back by the club.
As I said last week I think that this is potentially a really big signing for the club. He will probably become the biggest seller of shirts at the club, and I suspect he might immediately be made Captain too.
This will hopefully have a new leader at the club as the young players don’t just look to follow the failed leadership of Jogo, Koga and Kamiyama who have been the mainstays of a lacklustre period of 3 years when pride in the shirt and professionalism in respect to the manager seemed to slip.
I would hope that if a player comes out and says he should be playing in a different position (like Jogo did after the Oita game), or refuses to acknowledge the manager (like Kanamori did during the Yamaga game), or says that the manager is doing nothing in training (like Suzuki Jun did last time he was here) that someone like Hokuto could tell them to ‘be quiet’ in no uncertain terms.
I would really like him to be able to play in a midfield role, sitting back and protecting the defence. It is an area where he can have a bigger impact on the game, and is the position we have needed someone for 5 years.
We already know that Suzuki Jun cannot play this role, and having Hokuto play here each week would also mean that Suzuki Jun is probably on the bench which is another good thing.
My only concern is his fitness. He has struggled with injuries his whole career, but at 29 will hopefully still have some energy left in his legs and be able to play over 30 games this season.
His comments on signing…
“After 7 seasons I am back to the club.
I had 5 seasons at FC Tokyo, 1 at Omiya, and always wanted to play in my style; looking back my time at Fukuoka was when I could play at my best. Taking advantge of my experience, I can’t escape this word experience, I want to show that playing in a dynamic style is my main skill.
Having been here before there is some pressure to come back and perform, but I want to play well and help pull the team forward.
Thank you for your support.”
In addition to Hokuto coming back there was also the announcement that Sakata has signed for another season.
During his time here Sakata has probably been my favorite player, both with his play and his attitude on and off the pitch, but I hope that he is able to stay fit for another season.
I think that he probably needs to be used more sparingly this season as he was picking up more and more little niggles during games. When he first came to the club he could only last 65 minutes in a game, then under Pusnik his fitness improved a lot and he was running all game, but time may be starting to catch up with him now.
Generally I think he should probably start games, and if the game is won (or lost) then be brought off quickly for Ushinohama to try to look after his legs.
The key point of any player is to make sure their legs go for a different team and manager than yours. If he is looked after then he can be a key player for another season (possibly 2), but it needs to be a balancing act between games and training now to make sure he is fit and fresh come game time.
Other news saw Futoshi ikeda have his contract renewed (I’m glad about this, we needed some link to the past and he is the coach who has been most pro-active) and Ken Ishikawa has also got a new contract (he is the goalkeeping coach. I don’t know what good he has done, but I guess the statistics which falsely show Kamiyama is the best keeper in the division also brushes off on him).