Japan national team manager Vahid Halilhodzic has revealed that he is ready to give young players an opportunity in the squad ahead of the World Cup 2018. A number of established players like Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa will be crucial to Japan’s hopes of doing well in the World Cup 2018, which will be held in Russia. However, the Bosnian coach claims that he is very aware that the national team needs some young blood in order to take them through to the next decade.
Even though the likes of Kagawa and Honda have been extremely good, they may not be around by the next World Cup. There is plenty of pressure on Halilhodzic, as Japan has simply not been able to produce results in recent matches. After failing at the East Asian football championship in the final round, Japan has been unable to win the friendly games against Mali and Ukraine.
This does not look good for a team with hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the World Cup. The competition begins in June with Japan taking on Colombia in the first match. This will be followed by games against Senegal and Poland. However, both these matches look winnable and Japan will be targeting the maximum points from these games.
“He’s (Shoya Nakajima) explosive. He has been displaying strengths in one-on-one situations at his club, and I want to take a close look to see if he can do the same at the national team level. Okazaki plays a different role with Leicester to how we play in the national team. I (Keisuke Honda) want him to play well, score goals, and create goals. He’s a forward, but his role in defense is also important. I want him to display his ability to the fullest,” said the Japan coach about the various players in the team.