OSAKA – Up-and-coming midfielder Ritsu Doan had the 2018 Russia World Cup on his mind as he left for Europe on Wednesday to join Dutch first-division side FC Groningen on loan from Gamba Osaka.
“I want to go to Russia. I am going to make a killer effort (in the Netherlands),” the 19-year-old Doan told reporters before departing from Kansai airport.
“I want to score goals and deliver convincing numbers. I want do better than the (other) Japanese players there,” he said, referring to the likes of Yuki Kobayashi, who plays for Heerenveen.
Doan will undergo a medical check before joining the Eredivisie team for a loan spell that runs from July 1 through June 2018.
A product of Gamba’s youth system, Doan helped Japan win the Under-19 Asian championship title for the first time last year and was named the tournament’s best player.
He also played at the recent Under-20 World Cup in South Korea, catching the eye with three goals in the tournament, including a brace against Italy that sent Japan into the round of 16.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.