Takehiro Tomiyasu: A Hero for Club and Country
By Jahid Islam
Hello readers of WeLoveYouArsenal! I’m Jahid (@JahidFullStop) and this week’s article is about our glorious right back, Mr Takehiro Tomiyasu. He’s won most Arsenal fans over with his relentless work ethic, versatility and solid defending that has been desperately needed in Arteta’s asymmetrical system. In a column he wrote for Nishi Nippon Sports over in Japan, Tomi’s genuine honesty and humility is indicative of his love for the red and white of his national team, but also for Arsenal Club de fútbol. And I absolutely love him for it! Tomiyasu’s stellar appearances with Japan in the World Cup Qualifiers have been the impetus for my piece this week. Featuring at left centre-back in a defensive partnership with Maya Yoshida, Tomiyasu’s positional versatility and defensive acumen was on full display. Whilst the Japan team have been unremarkable as a whole, the same can’t be said for Tomiyasu, who “totally destroyed us [Vietnam] defensively,” according to one Twitter user. The stats back that up too, with the clean sheet against Vietnam Tomi’s 7th so far this season for club and country. Mightily impressive from the former Bologna AC player. His stats for Arsenal also paint a picture of a player thriving in a new league. And not one of those paintings your little sister does in Year-2 art class that your mum puts on the fridge. It's more like one of those realism paintings by Adolph Von Menzel. His ‘Eisenwalzwerk’ embodies an iron rolling mill, and is a true masterpiece. And just like how an iron rolling mill consistently churns out material, Tomiyasu’s shifts at his right back berth have been consistency and class personified. Just look at the Watford game for instance. 3/3 aerial duel won, 5/8 ground duels won, 2 key passes, 79 touches and 41 successful passes (an 83.7% success rate). And it’s a similar story with most of his other games for us. He’s a remarkably reliable player, the sort that we haven’t had for bloody ages. Not since the days of Bacary Sagna, or as Chris Kamara would say, 'Sacary Bagna.’ If you know you know. Now that we’ve established that Tomi’s a solid player, as anyone who’s watched an Arsenal game this season could tell you, let’s talk about his Nishi Nippon Sports column. Firstly, it wasn’t just a one-off article that he wrote when he was bored during the international break. No, Tomiyasu’s got a monthly segment that he writes called ‘My Way of Life’ that talks about being a Japanese footballer abroad, and the experiences he has. I honestly haven’t heard of an active player doing that, and his article seems pretty insightful. Obviously, I can’t read Japanese. I can barely speak English sometimes and I haven’t bothered to learn much Bengali other than ‘Can I have some food please?’ I’m therefore relying on a translation of his article by u/snow_pocket on the r/Gunners subreddit. If you’re seeing this, thanks for your hard work! A few key bits stuck out to me:
“Roughly two months have passed since I joined Arsenal. There is constant competition, challenges to face, and not a single day that goes by easily.”
That last phrase is the important part here. Tomi’s honesty in sharing how difficult he’s still finding the training and league offers fantastic insight into not just the physicality of the Premier League, but also how hard he has to work to stay on top of everything. Something that every single person can kinda relate to in their day to day lives. We’re getting deep in the feels here, ladies and gents.
“Receiving these words [advice to not overthink things] lifted a slight burden from me, and I have been able to play more freely.”
Tomi’s great performances recently are partly due to a change in mindset from the player in response to coaching and guidance. He’s taking it back to basics, and using all his concentration during training to truly ingrain Arteta’s tactics within until it becomes second nature. As we progress through the season, his dedication should pay dividends. I believe that there’s even more to come from Tomi. I mean, if he’s playing like this whilst still working out what’s required of him, then there’s only a matter of time until it all clicks and he becomes an absolute beast of a player. I remember when we signed him and there was a story of how he used to train so much more than the other kids during his academy days, to the extent that he’d get told off. His work ethic seems to have remained just as intensely strong as it did back then, if not stronger, as Tomi looks to push Arsenal “further and further.’ Up the table perhaps? Most definitely. With his guiding maxim being “I will give my utmost in this current moment”, Arsenal and Arsenal fans can rest easy knowing that we’ve got a player in Tomiyasu who’ll give all of his effort into the collective improvement of the team. And to get back into the top four, we’ll need every last bit of effort from each and every one of the players. I’ve been Jahid (@JahidFullStop) for WeLoveYouArsenal, and cheers for reading! I’ll see you in the next one. Ba-bye!