Midfielder | Kashima Antlers | Japan
Since having been converted into a defensive midfielder in his Tokyo Verdy days, Misao has gradually grown into the role. Now, at 22 years of age, and plying his trade as a regular starter in the J1 League with Kashima Antlers, Misao is one of the finest proponents of this notoriously tough to master position in the Japanese top flight.
The tenacious 5’11” man is a committed, battling presence in the middle of park, but is also capable of picking out and executing a sumptuous long ball over the top of the opposition back line if given half a chance. His five 2018 assists is a decent enough return and highlights his penchant for dabbling in a bit of playmaking from deep.
His awareness and physicality are questionable at times, but, all in all, it’s no surprise that the Japan national team setup are slowly stepping up his involvement with the senior side.
2018 has been…
…pretty good. He has racked up a lot of minutes on the pitch and has generally been a consistent and reliable member of Go Oiwa’s Kashima Antler’s squad. There’s still plenty of room for improvement, but in terms of getting the game time he needs to take such forward strides, he looks to currently be in the perfect place.
The major disappointment of the year, though, will have been missing out on a place in Japan’s World Cup squad that travelled to Russia in the summer. Misao earned five caps this year and was named on the standby list, but didn’t ultimately make the cut. A fine showing in Russia might’ve brought him to far greater global attention, and even opened the door for a move to Europe.
To find out just how good Misao can get, he’ll have to test himself beyond the J1 League at some point. At 22, though, there’s no rush to push for that big move and nor is he quite ready for it yet.
Misao’s short-term aim must be to make himself a regular starter for his national team. He also needs to make himself a more imposing figure in the middle of the park and work on his concentration levels - both, hopefully, are improvements that will naturally come with time and further experience gained.
2018 has been very solid, but not spectacular. It is a ‘slow and steady’ approach, but Misao looks to be doing a good job of ensuring that he has a solid career at a decent level. That might just be his ceiling too, but as long as he reaches it then there’s nothing to worry about.
C+ Keep on trucking