Ryo Miyaichi: "And then Vermaelen came at me and he was THIS BIG. And those eyes...I had to get out of there." (Photo by Olaf Kraak/Getty Images)
(This week, Ted Harwood makes his debut for PIMP. Ted's the author of SBN's Arsenal blog, The Short Fuse, which isn't cool enough to have a regular PIMP feature, but has lots of good Gunners info, which I guess is the actual point of an Arsenal blog. Ted's also nice enough to have multiple conversations about a certain SamiArse™, indulges me in a love for all things Meerkat, and has a bit of a mancrush/total fear of Thomas Vermaelen. And probably many other things much less near and dear to PIMP readers).
Ryo Miyaichi has had quite a month by professional football standards. This time last year, he was just a high school student in Japan, albeit one with a number of U-17 and U-20 caps for his country. But he was probably, for all that, the same as most high school students: focused on study, video games, sports, girls...hmm. Come to think of it, that describes just about every professional footballer. Never mind. Anyway: Kirsten has been gracious enough to let me write this week's article, and I have chosen Ryodinho, because he bows to the supporters at the end of matches and probably came from a deck of Pokemon cards. Thus, he is this week's Player in My Pocket*.
Ryo first came to Arsenal last summer on a trial and suitably impressed Arsène Wenger, who has since praised his work ethic and raw talent. Arsenal kept tabs on him throughout the rest of the year, and signed him on January 31 at the end of the transfer window. Arsenal immediately sent him on loan to Feyenoord to get playing time, and it has worked out well so far. He has played three matches so far for the Rotterdam club, making his debut against Vitesse, showing flashes of attacking flair on the wing.
His next match came against Heracles Almelo, and he again impressed coming in off the left. He ended up scoring the winner after some excellent close control in the penalty area, lashing a shot past the keeper at the near post. He celebrated Feyenoord's victory in fine style, humbly accepting the plaudits of the rabid support.
Clearly it is too early to tell what kind of career he will have at Arsenal. It is premature to hype him in any way. He's only 18 and coming from a playing environment that isn't exactly Stoke in January. That being said, the Eredivisie isn't exactly for chumps, and he seems to have adapted rather quickly, almost as if he doesn't really realize where he is yet.
Should Ryo come to Arsenal and do well, he will fit right in to a growing tradition of quick, deft wing players in North London. Arsenal's formation practically begs for these kind of players these days, and hopefully Ryo can find himself a spot in the squad, because nobody outside of a certain Meerkat has made me smile this much watching football in quite some time.
And isn't smiling what PIMPs are all about?
*It perhaps does not make a lot of sense that I would consider a striker who is six feet tall to be a player in my pocket, but I myself am six foot three, so it works.
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