Wednesday, 3 March 2010

2010 Player Profiles: Defenders

2. Taishi Tsukamoto - 塚本 泰史 - 04 Jul 1985 - 177cm / 68kg

Diagnosed as suffering from cancer of the knee during the close-season, Tsukamoto's heartrending press conference at which details of his condition were announced will remain imprinted on the minds of everyone who has heard it. The Squirrels have kept his squad number - but instead of fighting for a first team place in what would have been his third year as a pro, Ardija's free kick expert will be fighting for his health and his future.

3. Mato Neretljak - マト - 03 Jun 1979 - 191cm / 87kg

One of the key deals of the winter was the one that kept Mato Neretljak at Omiya for another year. Having arrived in Japan from K-League giants Suwon Samsung Bluewings, mighty Mato quickly became the star of the Ardija side, organising the defence, taking most of the penalties and still finding time to crash in a few close-range headers from set pieces. Just don't get injured, Mato, please!

4. Yuki Fukaya - 深谷 友基 - 01 Aug 1982 - 180cm / 73kg - NEW

Omiya moved quickly to sign central defender Fukaya from relegated Oita Trinita, where he was regarded by fans as perhaps the most important of the huge number of injuries suffered by Trinita in the early part of 2009. It was no coincidence that their catastrophic run of results ended the moment Fukaya came back into the side and alongside Mato he could form one of J1's strongest defensive partnerships.

14. Shusuke Tsubouchi - 坪内 秀介 - 05 May 1983 - 180cm / 75kg - NEW

A utility defender, Tsubouchi looks set to be a reserve having filled in last year at Oita when the likes of Fukaya were injured. He actually has a decent amount of experience, but it's hard to escape the feeling that the 26-year-old has been brought in as a replacement for Yusuke Murayama, arguably the most limited player on Ardija's books over the last season or two. Hmmm. And why do Tsubouchi's teams always get relegated?

28. Shunsuke Fukuda - 福田 俊介 - 17 Apr 1986 - 186cm / 83kg

Big centre back, entering his second season with Ardija after having graduated from Hosei University. Fukuda made just a handful of appearances in 2009, but the modest amount of cover in this area of the Omiya squad means he may end up getting more first team action this year, even if it is just filling in for Mato or Fukaya. Dangerous at set plays, Fukuda's a strong lad and, er, a bit on the raw side.

32. Arata Sugiyama - 杉山 新 - 25 Jul 1980 - 167cm / 68kg - NEW

Surprising to see a 29-year-old who has played most of his career in J2 get signed, but with Tsukamoto tragically unavailable the first team right-back spot is Sugiyama's to lose. Still, he's reasonably speedy and it looks as if he and Kazuhiro Murakami over on the left could offer more of an overlapping threat than Omiya have generally been able to offer in the past. Whether he has the class to be a regular J1 defender is another question.



Dih x) 4 March 2010 at 02:39  

Yo man... I'm your friend at twitter (Diego)... just wanna give my ganbatte to Tsukamoto. He'll be back!

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