This time last year we snapped up Ryo Miyaichi from Chūkyōdai Chūkyō High School in Japan after fighting off interest from several interested parties across Europe.
Since then the Japanese international has spent a productive four months on loan with Feyenoord, sealed a work permit to play in the UK but subsequently (almost strangely) only been afforded 30 minutes worth of playing time in two Carling Cup matches.
The cynics have suggested that along with the signing of Ju Young Park, Ryo’s arrival has been more about marketing the Arsenal brand in the Far East (he recently joined the Ladies team on their tour of his homeland) than helping his new side win football matches.
Nevertheless, eager to stress his focus on winning a first team place, the 19-year-old winger told Arsenal Player about his improvements in training.
“I think I’ve made big strides. Once you come to a big club, you can’t walk into the team – I have to work hard every day so that I can play well in the future.
“Even so during training, being able to practise alongside superstars can only be a good thing. It’s important to try to get noticed.
“All I can do is believe in myself and work hard. Otherwise it’s up to the boss so I’ll just do what I can.”
Given Gervinho’s absence at the African Cup of Nations and the poor form of both Andrei Arshavin, and more recently Theo Walcott, it’s almost surprising that Ryo’s name has not been thrown into the hat alongside Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as a possible supersub.
That he’s not been painted as the next Messiah is probably a good thing, although his need for playing time is pretty obvious.
Arseblog News wouldn’t be surprised to see the ‘starlet’ sent out on a second loan spell before the end of January.