SAMURAIS IN HIGH SPIRITS

Muto: Everyone here has high skill levels, so I’ve learnt from everyone

Yoshinori Muto
Yoshinori Muto training for Japan's Samurai Blue

On Saturday morning Japan conducted a light training session at Newcastle’s No. 2 Sportsground.

The team was greeted by muggy conditions, but the humidity had no affect on the spirits of the players.

As the team enjoyed a light hearted kick about to get the session underway, cackles of laughter echoed about the sparsely populated ground.  Clearly the team had forgotten about their disappointing loss to Brazil in October.

At that time manager Javier Aguirre was blooding some new talent after a disappointing World Cup in Brazil. Though Japan was defeated 4-0, a number of players benefited from the Mexican’s decision to experiment.

One of those players was Yoshinori Muto. The young striker said, “If I play on Monday, I just want a good result. I’m not so concerned with goals.”

Yoshinori Muto
Yoshinori Muto – post training

The 22 year old is expected to start off the bench behind Germany based Shinji Okazaki. Pressed on who he had learnt the most from in the camp Muto answered, “Everyone here has high skill levels, so I’ve learnt from everyone.”

Muto enjoyed a break out season with his J-League club FC Tokyo last year, scoring 13 goals for the mid table outfit.

Meanwhile, on Sunday Southampton’s Maya Yoshida rocked the AFC boat by suggesting the tournament be staged in the northern hemisphere summer.

Speaking to the Newcastle Herald the defender said, “I know it’s very difficult with TV rights and broadcasts, but I think the best time is the same time as the Euro.”

As defending champions and favourites for the Asian Cup, Japan will have a weight of pressure on them, illustrated by the media throng that tracks the national team’s every move.

Japan’s first assignment is at Hunter Stadium tonight. They meet unknowns Palestine. From there Japan conducts a Tuesday morning training session in Newcastle, before heading to Brisbane for their clash with Iraq.
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