Japan have been given a great prospect of getting into the knockout stages of the World Cup after being drawn into a group containing Ivory Coast, Columbia, and Greece. This is seen as a great opportunity for manager Alberto Zaccheroni to make himself a legend around these parts.
The manager has been talking in length about the possibility of including former greats like Shunsuke Nakamura into the squad. The former Celtic star is currently playing in Japan after his days at the top appear to have come down.
Despite this, Zaccheroni considers Nakamura has an important member of the squad and as someone will be able to provide immense experience and quality despite his age.
The 35-year-old, who has made 98 appearances for the national team in a career that lasted from 2000 to 2010, says that he is unlikely to return to international football. He is the current holder of the Player of the Year award in the J-League. Nakamura recently said that he is undoubtedly going through the best spell of his career in recent times, but it has been because of the concentration and work he has been putting into his time at Yokohama F. Marinos.
He feels that he may not be able to do the same with the Japanese national team after all these years.
“At that time (when I retired from the national team) I was struggling and the only way to restore myself was by focusing on Yokohama F. Marinos. Just the fact that people are saying that (they want me to return to the national team) makes me happy, but I am done. As a player I want a beautiful finish to my career,” said Nakamura. Japan did extremely well in the previous World Cup, as they reached the knockout stages – the first time for an Asian country.