Thursday 5 January 2017

2016 Season Player Round-Up Part 1

This the first of three parts, where I give my thoughts on how people did this season. I wrote these before our last few Emperor's Cup games, but most of it still stands I think and I'll add notes where things don't make sense. So, here you are, squad numbers 1-10. Parts 2 and 3 to follow soon.

1 Sung-Ryong Jung 
Had a decent enough first season I think. We missed him when he wasn’t available and he did seem to give us a bit more stability at the back. Feel like he punches a bit too much when it seems to make more sense to catch the ball, but that does seem characteristic of J League keepers in general. Seems like a nice guy and am pleased that we have him.

2 Noborizato Kyohei
Up and down season due, mainly I guess, to injuries. Definitely gives us some drive going forwards and has been used well as a sub in quite a few games. Kind of wish he’d live up to his song and ‘get goal’ a bit more often (more often than not at all this season…). Always seems 100% committed and that’s hugely in his favour. Another nice guy, I think, like most of the squad.

3 Nara Tatsuki
Poor Nara! A season blighted by injury. The first few games things looked a little shaky but he was coming in to some good form when he got his first serious injury. Similarly bad timing for the second injury, just after he’d come back from the first one. Hope he can recover fully and if he does I’m sure he’ll be a very important player for us in the future. Maybe his presence over the course of the season might have given us the little bit extra we needed, but guess we’ll never know.

4 Igawa Yusuke
Was a little worried when he came in during our massive defensive crisis but he did a surprisingly good job. His pace is a bit of a concern, but of course he’s not the youngest anymore so you can’t expect as much as previously. Was a more than adequate stand in when we needed him and I think he can probably play the same role next season if he wants. His form was maybe starting to drop when he got injured, but have to praise him for getting us out of a very tricky spot.

5 Taniguchi Shogo
Hugely improved this year, and although he apparently would rather play in a central midfield position, I think he’s actually better at the back at the moment. Had some dodgy games when he was asked to play on the wing, but I’d say that’s more the fault of the manager than him as it really isn’t his position. Gave us some much needed stability at there back when things were wobbling. Still prone to the occasional lapse in concentration, but think he did a good job this year and that he’s an important player for us going forward. And still improving I think.

6 Tasaka Yusuke
I don’t think at the start of the season anyone could have imagined he would end up being an important part of our defence, but his transformation from attacker to defender has been pretty successful I think. I think he’s done really well at the back for us. He is good on the ball and can beat players taking the ball out of defence which is something a little different for us. Not sure if the transformation is a long term thing, but he’s definitely an important player for us and one who has done well this season.

7 Hashimoto Koji
Big friend of Okubo apparently. I like Hashimoto and don’t really feel like he’s been given the best opportunities this season, but he does seem to be suited to playing on the wing and we haven’t really been playing that kind of way recently. I remember he was doing well there at Iwata and was then substituted. Suspect that if he wants to play regular football he might have to leave us, but with a new manager next season, maybe he’ll have more of a chance. [Leaving the club. No new club as of yet. Good luck to him]

8 Komiyama Takanobu
Unfortunate and serious injury at a bad time. We could definitely have done with him during one of our many injury crises this season. Was pleased to see him make a come back late in the season, but to be honest this season was a bit of a write off for him. Another who would probably have to move to get regular playing time, but who I would be happy to keep as I think he is a useful player. [Leaving us for Yokohama FC. Good luck to him]

9 Morimoto Takayuki
Another player who picked up a big injury. I sense a pattern developing. At the start of the season I felt like he was just getting going when he got injured. After his come back, he did some useful things for us but maybe didn’t quite make the impact we might have hoped for. Hopefully he can start next season fit and ready to go as he’ll be very important for us next year and will almost certainly be used much more than he was this year.

10 Oshima Ryota
A mixed season. We certainly missed him when he was away on international duty and his presence in the middle of the field is a great asset. He had a few stinkers at the end of the season though (Kobe away particularly). Will be crucially important next year and he’s a young player who is still improving. His energy and tackling is really useful. His passing was letting him down in the last few league games, but he’s had a long season, so hopefully with a bit of a rest he’ll be back and firing next year. I wish he’d shoot a bit more often, as that is one of his strengths I think.

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