Reims coach Will Still praised "key player" Junya Ito for the Japanese star's mental strength after he put off-field troubles to one side to score the winner as his club beat Metz 2-1 in Ligue 1 on Sunday.

Ito's fine strike in the 79th minute gave Reims a win which leaves the club from Champagne country, around 150 kilometers north-east of Paris, just four points adrift of the European qualifying places.

His goal, his third of the season, came just three days after the 31-year-old winger was left out of the Japan squad for home and away World Cup qualifiers against North Korea later this month.