• Kyodo


Former Kashima Antlers striker Atsushi Yanagisawa, who joined Italian Serie A club Sampdoria earlier this month, said Friday he thinks he has joined the right club.

Summarizing his experience since joining the club a week ago, the 26-year-old striker said at a press conference, “I am happy that I was able to join a club whose players are so attentive to me when it should be me who should be attentive to them.

“I think I have to be largely content with my play so far,” he said, adding, “although I think I can do better in some parts.”

He made his Italian debut in style by scoring five goals in a practice match against an amateur side on Wednesday.

Asked about the strategy of club manager Walter Novellino, the soft-spoken Japanese said, “What is required of a forward is almost the same (anywhere). But I think it will take a little more time before I can (completely) fit in as one of the 11 players. I will not be hasty.”

Yanagisawa, a member of the national squad, said that while he has no problem with Italian food, he has trouble learning the language.

“I hope to memorize at least one word a day,” he said. But I was told that I should learn the kind of language used only on the pitch rather than ordinary conversational language, and I’m inclined to do that.”

With the new Serie A season to start in about a month, Yanagisawa expressed determination to be prepared, saying, “I will train with my teammates to get match fit.”

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