“When I was small, my parents told me to never lose the meaning of my name.” With those very words, Takumi Minamino carries the expectations of a nation.
And yet, it’s been an underwhelming introduction to English football. A quiet, soft-spoken man who is still getting to grips with the English language, it’s hard to find out much about Minamino.
So what better way than to ask those who know him best. Speaking exclusively to Itatsu (@gerra_tsk) — a member of the (Official LFC Supporters Club); OLSCJ in Japan and writer for @lfc_lab, we take a more-in-depth look at the man himself.Embed from Getty Images
Not satisfied, can do better
The name means ‘exploring and fruiting.‘
Harsh but the reality of playing for the Premier League and World Champions brings added expectation and pressure. But with limited game-time, it’s hard for Minamino to get a look in.
So what have we seen so far? Itatsu spoke on Minamino’s start to the season. The games against: “Brighton, Midtjylland and Fulham offered good signs.”
But in reality playing against this calibre of opposition ,for a club like Liverpool, should come as no surprise.
Pace of the Premier League
So what would cause a player who terrorised Liverpool to become a shadow of that man? When asked as to why the Japanese has struggled, Itatsu stated: “He cannot get used to the speed and strength of the Premier League.”
Have we not heard this before? Remember Fabinho and Robertson? Both, written off before they had a chance to prove themselves and now are seen as an indispensable part of the Jurgen Klopp machine.
So with that very hope, Itatsu believes if Minamino can get the “Trust from his team-mates,… he’ll breakthrough.”
The Next MagicianEmbed from Getty Images
So what can the Japanese International offer this Liverpool side? According to Itatsu, quick transitions from “Offence to defence” and using “space well” to create “chances or score goals.”
Remind you of anyone? A certain Phillipe Coutinho comes to mind. But before the Twitter experts came out in full force, let’s examine the statement a bit deeper. The performance against Lincoln City was quite telling.
When starting centrally and away from the wings, Minamino scored two goals, and a grabbed an assist. A timely reminder to fans of what Liverpool have in their locker.
The Japanese still has a long way to go before he can scale the heights of the little magician. But the underlying stats make for some interesting reading.
Coutinho scored seven goals whereas Minamino bagged five goals in their final seasons for their respective clubs. A similar output and playing style are there for all to see.
The opener against Crystal Palace in Liverpool’s 7-0 victory showed all those skills. A dummy, deft touch and a finish to boot, but whether Minamino does live up to Coutinho’s name is only a question of time.
With the sheer amount of games coming up and an injury list to compare with any in world football, one thing for sure is that Klopp will give Minamino time.