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Ryo Miyaichi’s Time Has Come

Every season a player emerges as a new fans favourite for the Arsenal faithful, the 2011/12 season saw Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain make an immediate impact and much will be expected of him in the upcoming season. However, another starlet in the form of a young Japanese prodigy appears to be eagerly awaiting his chance to win over Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal fans.

Ryo Miyaichi is an example of what Arsenal’s future looks like. Hardworking, often quiet but determined Ryo has his heart set on making a strong impact at Arsenal in the forthcoming season. But will Arsene Wenger deem him ready for this opportunity, or will he be loaned out again? Well, for those of you are unfamiliar with Ryo you need look no further than his performances on loan at Bolton towards the end of last season, although, the Wanderers were relegated it does not take away the fact that Miyaichi gave his all for his for boss Owen Coyle, who is a big fan of the lightning quick winger. Owen  Coyle had this to say on the Japanese prospect:

‘‘He’s wiry and takes kicks and he will be black and blue because of the knocks he takes, but he’s so positive when playing against good players. He went to Millwall in the last round and scored a wonder goal. He went to Chelsea and frightened the life out of their defenders and he did the same recently at Manchester City.’’

There is no doubt that Miyaichi has the mentality about him, commenting on his character Mori Masatoshi, a well-known Japanese football writer told the Telegraph:

‘‘The one thing that makes Miyaichi stand out is his character. Most Japanese players are too modest to succeed in England, but Miyaichi is strong, confident and aggressive. He is a pleasant and likeable boy, but he has the determination to succeed that others maybe didn’t have.’’

His character isn’t the only thing that makes the young Japanese prodigy stand out; his pace is enough to scare some of the best defenders in the world, Ryo almost defeated Theo Walcott; the fastest player in the Premier League on the running track, with a ridiculously quick time of 10.6 seconds. Theo has been one of the first to acknowledge his team-mate’s talent, whilst Ryo was on his loan spell last season Walcott told Arsenal.comthat he feels as though Miyaichi can scare the life out of fullbacks in the Premier League. Walcott stated:

‘‘The way he is playing, there are full backs out there now who are thinking, ‘I don’t want to play against him this week.’’

However, his stats don’t yet appear to make the lad out to be a world beater, with 1 goal and 2 assists in 11 games. Yet, 6 of these appearances came from the subs bench, his goal in the F.A Cup in February against Millwall was the first sign of the impact Ryo could have on a team. You can’t solely assess his performances at Bolton on paper, as who knows what he could achieve amongst bigger and better players at Arsenal if he was given a long enough spell in Arsenal team. He has performed brilliantly for a player who only recently experienced the rigors of the Barclays Premier League.

At the age of 19 and new to the Premier League Ryo was able to show up his colleagues and give Mr Wenger a lot to think about. Miyaichi was sent out on loan to Bolton to see if he could hack it at the top-level, Bolton was the best place for him to be on loan. Jack Wilshere came back from his loan spell at Bolton a new player, the boy had become a man, will Miyaichi’s experiences at Bolton have a similar effect on the Japanese wonder?

Ryo Miyaichi’s name was remarkably left off the list when Japan’s Olympic team was declared, a strange decision you would think, as Ryo falls into the under 23 age limit. Bemusing it may be, however one has to wonder if Arsene Wenger had anything to do with the decision, we all know Arsene wouldn’t tell us if he did, however it seems plausible. Wenger has become known over the last couple of years for wrapping his young stars in cotton wool, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is one of Arsenal’s greatest prospects, but Wenger was reluctant to use him in situations which would put him under pressure, especially away games. Many fans believe that Ryo’s exclusion from the Olympics could hinder his progress, I believe not though; Ryo had been ever-present on Arsenal’s pre-season tour of Malaysia, and some would argue that taking the Asian star was a smart bit of PR from the club. Arsenal needed a poster boy for the English clubs huge Malaysian following too and Ryo being asian himself was a perfect choice.

In terms of his development his exclusion from the Olympics will not have too much of an effect on the player. Arsene Wenger is integrating him into the squads pre-season fixtures, and it appears that Arsene may want to give Ryo a chance to shine in the forthcoming season.

It would seem logical to send him out on loan, as there are a number of players in front of him, but Wenger always seems to make the illogical seem logical. A loan to Ajax seemed on the cards before the Dutch team pulled out of the race to sign the Arsenal winger, perhaps Wenger is waiting on an offer from an English club. There are rumours that Wigan hold an interest in taking the Japanese youngster on loan but there has been nothing official. By staying in England Ryo can be considered a home-grown player, not only would this help the winger in the future, but it would also help Arsenal fulfil their quota of home-grown players that are compulsory for them to partake in the Premier League.

So it seems as though Ryo will be staying in England, but is it best that he stays at Arsenal and learns his trade by working with Arsenal’s coaches, or should he be thrown into the deep end and be sent out on loan once more? It’s all a matter of refining his skills and working on the raw skills and talent he already possesses, sending him to Stoke for example would only have a negative effect, and we don’t want the young lad returning to Arsenal a shadow of the player he was. By staying at Arsenal Ryo will have a certain place in Arsenals team for the newly named Capital One Cup however, when you look at the competition in front of him there is reason to believe that it would be best to send him on loan.The likes of Podolski, Gervinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain amongst others stand in the way of Ryo’s progress.

The talent is there, the character is there all that matters now is Arsene Wengers’ judgment. I for one look forward to seeing Ryo lighting up the Arsenal wing and striking fear into opposition defenders. One can only imagine how the Premier Leagues defenders will cope against Ryo and Theo on the same pitch, it’s a frightening prospect and gives Wenger an extra option off the bench if an injection of acceleration is needed to help the team recover from the losing positions, Wengers’ men often found themselves in last season. I suspect we will see the young Japanese sensation involved in the forthcoming season and for many years to come, so keep an eye out for this special talent.

You can view a video of the Japanese prospect in action below:

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