Japan vs Australia: The Stand-Outs
By Nobuyuki Tosey
After watching the clash between the U18 sides of Japan and Australia last week, AFF reporter Nobuyuki Tosey has highlighted two players from each side as the standouts from the contest.
Club: Gold Coast United
Most of the good passages of play from the Young Socceroos came through the combination of Makarounos and Barker-Daish. Captain for the day, Barker-Daish lacks the vision of Makarounos but the former futsal player has a tidy touch on him, good physique, tactical awareness and positioning. Having recently signed to Gold Coast United from the Australian Institute of Sport, the feeling is that the 18 year old will soon be ready to play in the A-League and on this outing he seemed the player most equipped to do so.
Club: Australian Institute of Sport
Chapman captained the Australian team at the U17 World Cup and has seamlessly made the step up to the U18′s on this display. At 187cm he certainly has the required height for his position, but more impressive is his ability to read the game and his composure in possession to bring the ball out of defence. Would benefit from playing alongside an experienced defender as he is still very raw talent and it would help develop his positioning which needs work. Currently on a scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport I would imagine A-League Clubs are queuing up for him and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were European Clubs pondering making a move either.
Club: Yokohama F.Marinos U18
Playing in the holding role for Japan, Kumagai was the stand out player on the pitch for me. With Japan’s back four looking to play out from the back at every opportunity, he was pivotal in providing the link to the midfield and attacking trio whilst also preventing the Australian counters. Very comfortable in possession, with mostly one or two touch passes off of both feet and that unteachable quality to be a move ahead in his mind before he collects the ball, there were elements of Busquets to his style of play. Furthermore, at 181cm tall he has the physicality to cope with the step up to professional football and with the player of Japanese and Sri Lankan descent highly rated at Yokohama F.Marinos, its been announced this week that he’ll be promoted to the first team for the start of next season.
Club: Otsu, Kumamoto Prefectural High School
One of my standouts from the brilliant Japanese U17 team at the World Cup this summer, Ueda slotted into the U18′s with aplomb. His distribution was extremely impressive yet again; rarely giving away possession and never in dangerous areas and regularly cutting through the midfield with low driven passes into the striker’s feet. I’ve now seen Ueda enough times to believe that he’s got every chance of being a J.League regular and if he develops his positional sense and improves in one on one situations, then I think he could well be pushing for the senior national team a few years down the line. With supposedly more than ten J.League Clubs expressing an interest in the High School player, it would appear many in Japanese football feel the same.
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