Japan U-19 national team manager Masanaga Kageyama selected 5 players from Cerezo Osaka — Shu Mogi, Motohiko Nakajima, Hinata Kida, Mizuki Ando, and Hiroto Yamada — to his squad for short-term training camp which will be held in Osaka from May 28 to June 1. So far, these youngsters have mainly played for Cerezo Osaka U-23 which is in the 3rd place in the J3 League, exceptionally good place for a U-23 team. Let’s check out how they have performed in the league so far.
Shu Mogi is currently in his second year as a professional player after joining Cerezo Osaka from Toko Gakuen High School in 2017. Generally speaking, it is hard for a young goalkeeper to get a playing opportunity, so it is Cerezo’s strength that they have a second team playing at a professional level. Cerezo Osaka U-23 currently have two goalkeepers — Mogi and Takumi Nagaishi — and both have got an almost equal playing time so far (6 and 4 games respectively).
The above video features the best 5 saves from the J3 League MD8 selected by DAZN and 3 of them are Mogi’s. It shows that this 19-year-old goalkeeper, who has tall height (195cm), also has good reflexes which is indispensable for a good goalkeeper.
Motohiko Nakajima is one of the players who were promoted from the academy this year. He is registered as a forward but has also played in the midfield. He already made a debut for the U-23 team in 2016 and played 13 games in total as an academy player. This year, he has played 9 games and scored 2 goals in the J3 League so far.
He has good shooting skills as you can see in the above video, in which he fired a shot from just outside of the box into the near bottom corner of the goal. This goal was selected in DAZN’s Top 5 Goals of the MD8.
Among the players selected for the training camp from Cerezo Osaka this time, Hinata Kida is the only player who still belongs to the academy. He is still in the third year of high school and expected to be promoted to the top team next year. He firstly played at a professional level last year and already played 16 games, in most of them as a starter. Kida plays as a defensive midfielder and was once called as “next Hotaru” by football website Qoly.
As of writing this post, he already has 22 games in the J3 League and made the first assist this year when he provided a pass to Rei Yonezawa who scored a brilliant goal against FC Tokyo U-23.
Mizuki Ando joined the team from NIAS High School this year. He is physically strong and plays very aggressively, something the players promoted from the academy, who are generally good at skills, may not have. Having been taught by legendary coach Tadatoshi Komine, who has helped a lot of players including Yoshito Okubo and Kazuya Yamamura become professional, Ando has grown into one of the best strikers in his generation.
Ando already made a debut for the first team when he replaced Hiroto Yamada in the AFC Champions League group stage match against Buriram United in March. So far, he has played 4 games in the J3 League and scored his first professional goal against Gainare Tottori early this month.
Hiroto Yamada was also promoted from the academy this year. Yamada was born in Aichi Prefecture in 2000 and moved to Osaka in 2015 to join Cerezo Osaka U-18. This 181cm tall striker was already made available for the U-23 team in 2016 and made a debut at a professional level next year, playing 8 games for Cerezo Osaka U-23 in 2017.
Yamada has made more appearances than Ando so far, starting for the first team in two ACL games (against Buriram United and Guangzhou Evergrande) and playing 8 games in the J3 League so far. His first professional goal was against SC Sagamihara and with that great goal he brought the team a 2-1 win.