Today, part two of the end of season player round up, from Yamane to Fujishima.
13. Miki YAMANE (DF)
Something of a revelation going forward this year and finally someone has managed to make our right back spot his own since Elsinho left. Definitely causes me some anxiety in defence though, although perhaps we haven’t been caught out there too much. Spends an astonishing amount of time in the final third of the field for a right back and at times seemed to be in the middle waiting for the ball from a striker who was playing on the right. Honestly can’t believe he played as a centre back at Shonan! Clearly he’s a striker at heart. Can’t help but love his desire to head towards the opposition goal at high speed and to shoot at every opportunity. Deserved member of the J League team of the year.
14. Kengo NAKAMURA (MF)
What can you say about Kengo? Fantastic achievement to come back from a horrible injury and take part in what was to be his last season. Proved he still had something to offer with some occasional appearances but probably decided to call it quits at the right time. Seven starts and seven sub appearances clearly made a quiet season for him but two goals and three assists from that is pretty good isn’t it? Delighted he sealed his comeback with a goal and then sealed his final home league appearance with an assist for his friend Kobayashi. One club man and total legend. Bit of a shame that he couldn’t get onto the pitch for the Emperor’s Cup final to crown things off perfectly but Oniki had his reasons and Kengo didn’t seem too bothered. Hopefully he’ll still be involved with the club in some way.
15. Zain ISSAKA (MF)
Who knows? Was looking forward to seeing him but had no involvement at all, not even making the bench like a few others.
16. Tatsuya HASEGAWA (MF)
Started the season on fire and then picked up a weird injury that didn’t seem serious but took absolutely ages for him to recover from. Seemed to be training again quite soon afterwards but didn’t get anywhere back near the squad till quite late in the season by which time he had been eclipsed by Mitoma and had understandably lost the early season good form he’d had. Seemed like his combination with Damiao at the start of the year was really working. Five goals from ten starts was great and was playing some of the best football we’ve seen from him. But after the injury seemed pretty flat. Hopefully can come storming back in 2021.
17. DIOGO MATEUS (DF)
What might have been really. Yamane’s great first season meant that Diogo was barely given a sniff and understandably he has now returned to Brazil. Feel bad for him as I gave him man of the match for the game he started as he offered something quite different. Seemed much more like a traditional winger. Great crosser and set piece taker but we hardly used him at all. Good luck to him.
18. Kaoru MITOMA (MF)
Plenty has been written about Mitoma’s 2020 season and plenty of that has been by me on this blog. Had an amazing impact and really stood out in a team where everybody was playing well. His directness was exciting, his ‘nuru-nuru’ sticky dribbling was exhilarating and he always seemed very willing to have a shot. Sometimes did all the hard work and then messed up the final easy pass but this is merely nit-picking when you consider how important he was for us. And towards the end of the season he seemed to be unbelievably unselfishly setting up people for fun, even when he needed a goal to equal the rookie season top scorer record which was pretty big of him I thought. Top of the assist chart and second top of the goals chart is a pretty impressive debut season achievement. Some people think that he was robbed of the MVP title and I have some sympathy with this, and of course he made it into the team of the year. Clearly wants to move overseas and I suspect it will happen soon, but hopefully we can get at least another half a season out of him before we send him on his way with our best wishes (and presumably no financial compensation).
19. Manabu SAITO (MF)
Another what could have been season for Manabu perhaps. It didn’t look good for him at the start of the year with Hasegawa and Mitoma ahead of him in the pecking order on the left. Hasegawa’s injury gave him a bit of a chance, but the season went the way that Manabu’s career with us has gone. Clearly after his big injury he hasn’t been able to get back his old form and perhaps with so much competition in our squad he was never going to get the chance to play himself into some form. Hope he can do that at Nagoya. Was well loved by the fans who all wanted him to get back to his best but it didn’t quite happen. Two goals and four assist from 13 starts in a season that we are categorizing as a bit of a quiet one is alright though isn’t it? Good luck Manabu!
20. Taisei MIYASHIRO (FW)
Not sure what happened with Miyashiro. This looked like it was going to be the year he got more of a chance with Chinen out on loan and only Damiao and Kobayashi ahead of him in up front. But only started four games and (can’t remember exactly but maybe...) these starts were mainly on the right anyway. Much like Chinen in 2019, he seemed to be involved early on in the season and then kind of disappeared after a few months to never be seen again. With Mitoma and Hatate blazing their own trails ahead of him it was great that Miyashiro managed to score a couple of times and I think he would have had a few more with a few more chances. Particularly weird he didn’t get more opportunities given that Damiao and Kobayashi weren’t exactly tearing the place up. Guess though that with only one player being able to play in the central striker position it was probably always going to be one of Kobayashi and Damiao starting and then the other one replacing them. Going on loan next year to Tokushima so hopefully he can get going there and come back the following year and stake a claim for himself.
22. Hokuto SHIMODA (MF)
I’m sure we’re all sad to see him leaving us for Oita but can totally understand why he might want to move on with only six starts and nine sub appearances in a team that is packed with younger upcoming midfielders. Always great from a dead ball situation and had one of the best songs (I think). Thank you for your service, hope you enjoyed it, sorry you didn’t get more of a chance and good luck at Oita!
23. Eisuke FUJISHIMA (GK)
In a season where the keeper spot was the one of the most predictable and fixed, (and he was at the bottom of a pile of four), it made sense for Fujishima to move on to Montedio where he established himself as their first choice keeper. Very pleased he could do this after a horrible injury. Sorry he never got a chance for us.