Takashi Usami: "Value in technical ability"

Since last summer, Takashi Usami has been a member of the TSG 1899 Hoffenheim squad. The Japanese star has been in the starting eleven 13 times so far this season, making a total of 17 appearances and scoring two goals. When Hoffenheim take on Stuttgart on Sunday he faces two fellow countrymen, namely Gotoku Sakai and Shinji Okazaki. spoke to him about Japanese football ahead of the encounter.

Hello Takashi. Do you keep an eye on Sakai and Okazaki in the Bundesliga?

No, not really. There are such a great number of Japanese players in the Bundesliga now that I'd have to keep up with so many teams and I just don't have the time. Apart from that, I'm fully concentrated on my work here at Hoffenheim.

In the first half of the season against Stuttgart you had one of your best games in a TSG shirt. Do you remember the match?

Of course I remember my goal. It was a nice moment but I don't think about games that far back.

You play in a similar style to Shinji Kagawa and Okazaki. Does Japanese football produce these types of players regularly?

I think so. We are all built similarly, technically strong and we look for goal from in and around the area. When you first play football in Japan, technical ability is highly valued. I think that's how those similarities come about.

As you mentioned, there are quite a few Japanese players in the Bundesliga. Where has this trend come from?

It's quite simple. There are a lot of high quality players in Japan and since one or two have established themselves here, the interest in Japanese players in the Bundesliga has risen. Alongside that, we arrive with a skill set that compliments the German game: athleticism, strength, stamina and discipline.

With those ‘Japanese virtues', the women's national team won the World Cup in 2011. When do you think the men can reach the same level?

That's a difficult question. The level of competition in the men's game is unbelievably high so I can't really answer that with a date. There's no doubt though, that it takes a lot of work to be right at the top.

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