Kyogo Furuhashi, Daizen Maeda, Reo Hatate and Yosuke Ideguchi were our original players from the east, recruited during Ange Postecoglou’s first season in charge. Kyogo was transformational, a truly special player. Despite injury midway through that season, his influence over Scottish football was profound.
Like Kyogo, Daizen made a blistering start, scoring four minutes into his debut against Hibs. A few weeks after arriving, Reo demolished Newco, scoring twice and assisting with a third.
Yosuke had the opposite introduction to Scotland. He was assaulted during a brutal Cup game at Alloa, the resultant injury saw him used sparingly on his return. The 28 minutes he got in the final league game of the season, against Motherwell, was more than the sum of all bit parts he played in other games following injury. This season has been a wipe-out.
If asked to give your view on the player, you would struggle. An alarm bell may have chimed for Yosuke when he discovered he was cover for captain, Callum McGregor. Across football, captains and central defenders are seldom shuffled. Callum has the added attribute of being almost indestructible, although he was a fellow assault-ee that night in Alloa. If the captain is never rested, his understudy is not going to see action.
The world moved on in January and Tomoki Iwata, our sixth Japanese player, after the recent addition of Yuki Kobayashi, joined the most profound Japanese influence on western culture since the Plastic Ono Band co-opted John Lennon and Eric Clapton (don’t bother troubling your streaming service for that lot).
Tomoki was crowned Player of the Year in Japan in December, he is a talent who should be given the opportunity to flourish. Can you see Ange resting Callum, even home to St Mirren on Saturday? Me neither. A reputation for improving and propelling players has to be a part of the story. If we ‘waste’ them, supply of the good ones will dry up.