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Gamba’s Ideguchi named J. League’s top rookie

Kyodo

Gamba Osaka midfielder Yosuke Ideguchi was named the J. League’s Best Young Player of the season Wednesday.

The 20-year-old Ideguchi is the second Gamba player to win the honor after Takashi Usami in 2010. Ideguchi also won the New Hero Award of the Levain Cup, the league cup competition.

While Gamba failed to contend for the J. League title, finishing fourth in the overall standings, Ideguchi had a breakthrough campaign, scoring four goals in 22 league games.

Ideguchi was also picked to Japan’s Rio Olympic soccer team, and earned his first call-up to the full national side for the World Cup qualifiers last month, when coach Vahid Halilhodzic gushed about the youngster’s upside.

Gamba has one last shot at silverware in the Emperor’s Cup, and will face Yokohama F Marinos in the quarterfinals on Dec. 24.