LONDON – Japanese soccer star Junichi Inamoto revealed Friday that he is set to take advantage of his fellow West Bromwich Albion teammate’s match ban and play to impress in the club’s first team.
“Nigel is out for the next three games so that means I’ve got very good chances,” Inamoto said in a statement published on the club’s Web site, referring to regular player Nigel Quashie who is currently serving a five-match prohibition.
“I don’t think the fans have seen the best of me yet, but my performances have grown so hopefully I will show more for the fans and for the team,” the international continued, quickly adding that he felt no pressure and continued to look forward to every game.
Inamoto — who has a chance to face England’s top teams in three matches starting Saturday with Manchester United — is not only looking to impress his manager Bryan Robson but is also bidding to cement a place in Japan’s World Cup team in the summer.
Nicknamed “Ina,” the Japanese, having scored his last premiership goal almost two-and-a-half years ago, is not afforded the same star-status in England as he is in his home country but is determined to carry on regardless.
“Being in England at the start was difficult because it was a different culture and language but now it’s very different,” the player said admitting that after five years he now revels in all things English, including the foreign diet.
On Saturday though it will be footwork not food that will determine whether Inamoto can prove his worth in the top English club as soccer pundits watch to see first, if the midfielder makes West Bromwich Albion’s first team and second, if he plays well.