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Yosuke Ideguchi’s January gamble could cost him World Cup spot


Yosuke Ideguchi’s January gamble could cost him World Cup spot

The Japan international is struggling for football at Cultural Leonesa, where he is on loan from Leeds United.

Completing a transfer in January is always something of a risky move from any player and Leeds United newbie Yosuke Ideguchi is currently finding that out the hard way.

Leeds snapped up the 21-year-old Japan international in January from Gamba Osaka. The deal, which the Sun reported was worth around £500,000, looked a steal for the promising midfielder.

Unfortunately, he was not eligible for a UK work permit and was loaned out to Spanish second-tier side Cultural Leonesa until the end of the season.

 (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

It is fair to say things in Spain have not gone to plan.

The Leeds-owned midfielder has struggled to settle into life in Spain. His performances have suffered and Ideguchi is not currently a first-team regular at the Estadio Reino de Leon. Ideguchi has started just one game for the side, who currently sit in the relegation zone and could face life in the Spanish third tier next season.

 (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)

Now he could pay the ultimate price for his post-Leeds woes, missing out on a World Cup spot. Ideguchi has been dropped by Japan coach Vahid Halilhodzic ahead of the upcoming friendlies with Mali and Ukraine. He is quoted by the Japan Times as stating:

“Some players are not getting game time at their clubs.


“Some are not even getting on the bench. It makes me sad that Asano and Ideguchi are not playing.”

It would be a massive blow for Ideguchi if he did not make it on the plane to Russia. He was pivotal to Japan qualifying for the competition – scoring in the crunch game v Australia that booked the Samurai Blue’s place at the championships.

Making the move to Leeds was supposed to signal the next advancement in Ideguchi’s career. Unfortunately, it appears a move to the west might have come too soon for the player.

In hindsight, remaining in Japan until after the World Cup would have been a smarter move from the 21-year-old talent.

Now he faces a real fight to get back in the Japan fold and earn a work permit. Then he will need to improve greatly if he is to become a regular at Leeds United next season.

Sports journalist based in Bristol. Everton fan for my sins.

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