Endo’s Unyielding Spirit: Liverpool Midfielder Stands Firm Amidst Criticism | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Endo’s Unyielding Spirit: Liverpool Midfielder Stands Firm Amidst Criticism

Special Report》He also struggled at the Asian Cup! The "Heaven and Hell" of the Premier League, as seen by the leader of the Moriyasu Japan team

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Hugging Takumi Minamino (29), who scored the equalizer against Vietnam in the Asian Cup. As the captain of the team, he did not forget to follow up on goalkeeper Ayaen Suzuki (21), who had conceded a goal.

It is rare to find a player in the Premier League who has so dramatically increased his reputation and credibility. Take Japan’s midfielder Wataru Endo, 30, who joined Liverpool last summer.

Endo’s transfer was announced on August 18 last year. The new Premier League season had already begun, and he joined the team without having played a single preseason match.

However, the world’s most prestigious league is not so easy to adapt to instantly. And Endo’s new club is Liverpool, a strong club in the Premier League. In the early part of the season, his opportunities were limited, and even when he did play, he failed to make an impact in many games.

The local media were harsh on the new Japanese players. The local media were critical of the new Japanese player, saying that he lost the ball too often (Liverpool Echo) and that he could not be trusted to start in big matches in the Premier League with the way he played (club information site Dis is Anfield). It is the fate of big clubs that they are relentlessly criticized if they show even the slightest lack of performance, and Endo was no exception.

But the mentally mature Endo, who was captain of VfB Stuttgart in Germany, was looking only at his own feet. No matter how much he was beaten to the sack, he would never change his mind.

Whether I start or come off the bench, I just do what I have to do to help the team win. That is what is essential. That is how I played.

At the same time, he was constantly reevaluating his own game and confronting his issues.

At the same time, he was constantly reassessing his game and confronting the issues he faced. I was always thinking about that in every game, every match.

On December 3, Endo had a major turning point in his career when he came on as a substitute in a match against Fulham. He came on as a substitute and scored a valuable equalizer with a mid-range shot in the 42nd minute. It was his first goal in the Premier League, and he contributed to the team’s come-from-behind victory, thrilling the Anfield supporters. In addition, the Argentine midfielder Alexis McAlister (25) suffered an injury in the next game against Sheffield U, leaving Endo as the only defensive midfielder in the team. The Samurai warrior who was selected for the starting lineup was determined, saying, “I have no choice but to do my part.

After entering the pitch with a high level of motivation, Endo began to make great strides. His performance improved with each game, and he supported the midfield with his characteristic aggressive defense. He found himself starting in eight consecutive official matches until he was forced to leave the team for the Asian Cup. Liverpool rose to the top of the Premier League table, and the Japanese midfielder was named the club’s best player in December. The midfielder is pleased with the response he has received.

I’ve been playing for a long time, and I’m getting used to it. I am finally able to show what I am good at in the Premier League. I feel like I am constantly improving my best performances, both as a team and as an individual. As time has passed since I joined the team, my teammates around me have come to understand my strengths.
I am 30 years old. I think the club sees the merit in acquiring a player with a high level of experience. I have been working with the feeling that depending on my performance, the team’s results could change greatly. I think I am doing that now. Of course, I am not satisfied. I want to become a player who can bring something extra to the team.

Endo left the team after the game against Newcastle on January 1 and headed to Qatar, where the Asian Cup will be held. He said that coach Jurgen Klopp (56) and his teammates asked him, “Are you really leaving? Endo said. Endo smiled, “It’s great that they were able to prove the merit of having me.

Endo played a full part in three matches in the Asian Cup group league, scoring a goal. He also scored a goal, contributing to Japan’s advance to the final tournament.

However, Endo is not letting his guard down in the slightest.

Winning in Asia is not easy. We just have to do what we can do. I just have to do what I can do and take on the challenge with that kind of mentality. I think the players in the national team know that I have started eight consecutive games for Liverpool. I want to give everyone a good stimulus, and at the same time, I want to be inspired as well, as we work toward winning the championship.”

The heaven and hell he witnessed in the Premier League has raised Japan’s commanding presence to a higher level. When Moriyasu Japan achieves its long-cherished goal of reaching the top eight at the World Cup, Endo will surely be at the center of it.

The defensive prowess of the Bundesliga’s “King of Duel” is also exploding in the Premier League. The local media, which had been slamming Endo when he first moved to the club, now asked, “When will Endo be back with the team? And they hope that Japan will be eliminated early.
Endo’s header against Iraq in the Asian Cup gives Japan a shot in the arm. His first goal in the Premier League was nominated for best goal of the month, and he also contributed to the offensive side of the game

From the February 16, 2024 issue of FRIDAY

  • Interview and text by Kosuke Tajima Photographed by Watanabe Koji

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