The rebirth of Yosuke Ideguchi is one step closer to completion.
Almost two years after becoming one of the most forgettable signings in Leeds United’s modern history, moving to Elland Road from Gamba Osaka for £500,000 in the winter of 2018, Ideguchi is making up for lost time at breakneck speed.
Thanks to a pesky work permit problem, one of the rising stars of Asian football never got a chance to wear the famous white shirt. And a cruciate ligament injury suffered just weeks after joining German second tier side Greuther Furth on loan hammered the final nail into Ideguchi’s coffin.
But ever since he returned to Japan with Gamba Osaka in August, the 23-year-old has looked a player reborn.
“He’s settled well. He was always a good player. He has that touch of malice and he’s prepared to be hard, where many Japanese players aren’t,” Alan Gibson, the editor of JSoccer magazine, told HITC in October.
“I’m sure he will be back in the national team soon after a good start.”
It turns out Gibson was right.
Ideguchi has been rewarded for his fine form in the J-League with a first international cap in 18 months, coming off the bench during Japan’s 4-1 defeat to a Salomon Rondon-inspired Venezuela on Tuesday. If you want proof, here he is below, controlling a loose ball in a rather natty, 90s inspired kit.
It’s two years now since Ideguchi made himself a national hero by scoring the goal which fired Japan into the 2018 World Cup. And, if he carries on like this, there’s no reason why he cannot one day dream of a second chance in the European game.
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