Gen Shoji challenges regulars Yoshida and Tomiyasu.
Yoshida and Tomiyasu go to the U-24 Japan team, while Shoji is eager to show off.
Japan’s national team, led by coach Hajime Moriyasu, will face Tajikistan in the second qualifying round for the World Cup in Asia at Panasonic Stadium Suita on June 7.
Japan has already qualified for the final round of the tournament and will use the “digestive game” to improve the team’s performance, but Gen Shoji (Gamba Osaka), a defender, said that there is no need to imitate anyone else in the battle for the final line position without Maya Yoshida (Sampdoria) and Takehiro Tomiyasu (Bologna). I don’t need to imitate anyone,” he said, exuding pride.
Returning to the national team for the first time in two years, Shoji played in the second half of the 3-0 charity match against the U-24 Japan national team on June 3, starting in the 26th minute.
With regular center backs Yoshida and Tomiyasu out of action for the U-24 national team, this is a great chance for Shoji, defender Shogo Taniguchi (Kawasaki Frontale), and defender Shinnosuke Nakatani (Nagoya Grampus) to make their mark.
At an online press conference on June 6, Shoji spoke about the overage group of Yoshida, Tomiyasu and midfielder Wataru Endo (Stuttgart), who fully participated in the U-24 Japan U-24 match against Ghana on June 5. He expressed his intention to challenge the wall of Yoshida and Tomiyasu.
Yoshida and Tomiyasu don’t make many mistakes, and they have the composure that comes from experience. They are our rivals, but they are still our seniors, and we have a lot to learn from them. Maya was not in the U-24 match, but even watching yesterday’s match (against U-24 Ghana), I could feel his presence and the sense of calmness and stability he brings to the team just by watching on TV. It was a game that made me want to bring that sense of security not only to the national team but also to my team.
While respecting Yoshida, Shoji revealed that he plans to play on his own merits.
I can say that for most CBs, there is no need to imitate anyone. There is no guarantee that we will be strong with two Maya’s, and I think the combination of the two will change the way we play, by playing to each other’s strengths and reducing the number of weeks. I don’t have anything to compare myself to, even with the members selected this time.
After the World Cup in Russia, there have been no outstanding performances for the national team, so expectations are high for Shoji’s performances in the World Cup Asian second qualifying round match against Tajikistan on June 7, the Kirin Challenge Cup match against Serbia at Noevia Stadium Kobe on June 11, and the World Cup Asian second qualifying round match against Kyrgyzstan at Panasonic Stadium Suita on June 15. I’m looking forward to seeing him play.
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