Form not affected
"I was a little worried that the few minutes he has been getting at Sevilla might affect him but Hiroshi brought to the team the kind of quality we'd expect if he was playing regularly week in week out", Japan coach Vahid Halilhodzic said after this weekend's 4-0 friendly win over Oman. Halilhodzic insists that the lack of action 'Kiyo' is getting at club level will not have a negative impact on his selection plans. The Bosnian coach is looking after the midfielder and just after the game, suprised him with a birthday cake - Hiroshi turned 27 on Saturday and celebrated the previous evening in Kashima by scoring one goal and setting up another two before being substituted on 71 minutes.
No time to settle in properly
"Maybe he hasn't been able to adapt to life in Seville because of the constanr international breaks; he is always taking long trips and is away for several days at a time which means he doens't get much of a chance to impress Sampaoli. But this game will do wonders for his confidence", Japanese journalists who have been closely following Kiyotake's career in Europe explain. In LaLiga, Hiroshi hasn't figured at all since the Eibar meeting on 17 September when he played in Vietto for the opening goal. In the Champions League, he came on as a late sub in the 4-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb. But with the national team he has scored three goals and set up a further six in nine games - surely Sampaoli is taking note...
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