SOCCER / Hometown hero Miyaichi draws praise from Zaccheroni

February 28, 2012

By TAKESHI OKADA / Staff Writer

He is only 19 years old, but Ryo Miyaichi already has an impressive soccer resume.

The Aichi-born forward has played for Arsenal and the Bolton Wanderers in the English Premier League, and on Feb. 29, he will likely make his debut with Alberto Zaccheroni's national team in a third-round World Cup qualifying match against Uzbekistan.

All the better: The match will held in the friendly confines of Toyota Stadium in his native Aichi Prefecture.

On Feb. 27, Miyaichi participated in a national team training session for the first time and received direct instruction from coach Zaccheroni for about 15 minutes.

"It's just like a study session," Miyaichi said. "The movement (Zaccheroni taught me) was more complicated than I expected. But I'll have more variety of plays if I can absorb it."

Asked about the national side, he told reporters that every player for the Samurai Blue has a high level of ability.

Last month, he was loaned to Bolton and scored his first goal in England on Feb. 18.

He said he felt a sense of destiny on the fact that his first call-up was for a game in his hometown.

"If I score a goal in the game, the (local) fans will be excited," he said. "I hope I'll have a strong presence."

"He is fast both in short and long distance. He is more advanced than other young players," said Zaccheroni, who hinted that he would let Miyaichi play in the Feb. 29 game.

Japan has already made it to the Asian final qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

By TAKESHI OKADA / Staff Writer
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Ryo Miyaichi works out during a training session on Feb. 27. (Yosuke Fukudome)

Ryo Miyaichi works out during a training session on Feb. 27. (Yosuke Fukudome)

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  • Ryo Miyaichi works out during a training session on Feb. 27. (Yosuke Fukudome)

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