Jong Tae-se Says Ayase Ueda of Kashima Antlers is the Only One Who Can Do It! | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Jong Tae-se Says Ayase Ueda of Kashima Antlers is the Only One Who Can Do It!

The key man to solve Japan's lack of scoring power, as revealed by a famous forward who has played in Germany, Korea, and other leagues around the world.

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Jong Tae-se is interviewed. He has scored many goals with his strong and physical style of play.Remember the power forward (FW) who played for Kawasaki Frontale and other teams and was nicknamed the “human bulldozer”?

He is Jong Tae-se (38), a former North Korean national team player for J2 club FC Machida Zelvia. Since his professional debut in 2006, he has scored more than 170 goals for club and national team. He has been a media sensation for his outspoken opinions, and this time he talks about the controversy surrounding Moriyasu Japan’s regular midfielder.


In a series of four international friendlies in June, Moriyasu won 4-1 against Paraguay and Ghana, but lost 0-1 to Brazil, the favorites to win the World Cup, and 0-3 to Tunisia, a lower-ranked team. In each case, there were “zero” shots on frame. What is it that Japan lacks? Jong Tae-se answers this question.

The Kashima ace is the only choice for the center forward!

Outside of the J-League, he played three years in Germany and two years in Korea. With his wealth of overseas experience, he answered the question accurately.Currently, there is no absolute ace in the Japanese national team. In fact, all four players registered as FWs took the pitch for the four games in a row. However, Jong Tae-se asserts, “There is only one option! I want to talk about the basic premise.

The lack of scoring ability and the lack of FWs is a common problem for all countries. (laugh) If you don’t score even one goal in a game, you are said to be not doing your job. The “lack of scoring” argument is never-ending. That’s one of the reasons why I get offers to do interviews like this (laughs).

I digress, but after watching the four games in a row, I felt that if you want to score goals, Ayase Ueda (23) of Kashima Antlers is the only one who can do it.”

Ueda is the leading scorer in J1 with 10 goals this season. He has recently been linked with a move to Belgian first division club Cercle Brugge. However, he only played in an international friendly against Ghana in June. Hajime Moriyasu, 53, does not consider him high in the pecking order for a midfielder. Still, Jong emphasized, “Ayase Ueda is my first choice.

In the Tokyo Olympics, Japan lost the third-place game against Mexico and missed out on a medal, and I remember Ueda was criticized in that game. I was called a ‘war criminal’.

But my impression is quite the opposite. When I saw Ueda’s movements, I thought, ‘This guy is amazing. Every move he makes is aimed at the goal. In a word, he smells like a goal. Look at foreign leagues. Players who become top scorers tend to miss goals more often than not. For example, if you were a lower ranked team and had only one chance per game, you would have a hard time scoring. This is probability theory: the more chances you have, the more goals you score.

In Japan, people often say, “You need to be able to make all the right decisions,” but that is completely wrong. It is not about scoring goals, but about how many chances you create. In that sense, Ueda has an excellent sense for scoring goals.”


There is the one and only technique that makes professional players fall in love with him.

He praised Ueda’s movement, saying, “It’s a talent I don’t have, so I can see it even more clearly.When one thinks of the top players in Japan’s national team, the name of Yuya Osako (32) comes to mind. Other players like Kyogo Furuhashi (27), Takuma Asano (27), and Daizen Maeda (24) all play overseas. What makes Ueda superior to these players?


“He is outstanding in his off-the-ball movement. Even I can’t predict the timing of his start of movement or the course he will take. It’s really a very difficult thing to do, but when Ueda does it, he makes it look easy. That’s why people tend to think of him as a guy who just misses shots. It looks more flashy when he dribbles, cuts in, and shoots.

My only weakness is my feet. If you can hold onto the ball well, you can expand your range. For me, that kind of clumsiness is sometimes cute (laughs).”

He is confident that he will fit in well with Moriyasu’s tactics.

He said, “Many of Japan’s goals are scored by Junya Ito (29) and Kaoru Mitoma (25) from deep down the flanks, and Ueda is a good fit for Moriyasu’s tactics. Ueda is always looking for the back of the defender, no matter how narrow the space in front of the goal is. He is also able to make calm decisions in the penalty area. With players like this, side attacks tend to work.

Also, he often says in post-match interviews that he doesn’t think about anything, but I don’t think he is the type of player who thinks with his head, but rather moves on instinct. However, such players are not crushed by pressure on the big stage. In terms of mentality, I think Ueda is the only player who can solve the lack of scoring in Japan’s national team.”

On June 21, Moriyasu made news when he said at a regular press conference, “It is a tactic.” What does Jong Tae-se think about Moriyasu?

“I like the way he uses Ueda. He is a close-range sniper. Against Brazil, his dribbling was also stopped, but against other teams, it was almost working. I think he’s basically unstoppable. He is at a level that I don’t know how to evaluate. Honestly, isn’t he the best Japanese national team player of all time?

However, I think there is a dilemma within him. I think he has his own issues about what he needs to do to be a starter. But he would be more successful if he starts in the middle. He says to the media, “To fulfill my role,” but that is definitely not what is in his heart. If anything, I would like to see him keep dribbling like that for 90 minutes.”

Japan’s World Cup Outlook

In the Qatar World Cup group leagues, Japan will face Germany, Costa Rica, and Spain. The matchups are a combination of powerhouses, but we asked Jong Tae-se for his predictions.


“I think Japan will have a tough time even getting past the group phase, but I think they will do surprisingly well. I thought it was great that they scored four goals against Paraguay the other day, and Germany and Spain, who are in the same group, are not as strong as they used to be.

Furthermore, these two countries play with organizational strength. They do not try to force one-on-one matches, but aim to “break down the game beautifully”. If they compete with organization rather than individual ability, I don’t think Japan will be broken down that much. However, since neither Germany nor Spain will show any openings, I feel that whether or not they get the first goal will determine whether or not they advance through the group phase. I think it will be very difficult to score goals.”

On the other hand, Costa Rica, which has not attracted much attention, is a team to watch out for.

“Costa Rica is the most difficult opponent for us to play. Costa Rica is a team that is allowed to force their way through not only in an organized manner, but also with their physicality. Overall, even though the chances of advancing out of the group leagues are low, I don’t see anything to be pessimistic about.”

In July, Japan will play in the EAFF E-1 Soccer Championship against Korea, China, and Hong Kong. With less than five months until the World Cup, what will Moriyasu’s answer be to the FW controversy?

Even though it was after practice, Moriyasu was kind enough to talk to us for two hours. At the end of the interview, he encouraged us by saying, “I said a lot of things, but I still have high expectations for Japan’s performance at the World Cup.”
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