Date of Birth: 05.11.1998 (18 years old)
Position : Central Defender, Defensive Midfielder
Team: Avispa Fukoka
Value: 50.000 €
Contract Until: –
Height: 1,88 m
Takehiro Tomiyasu was born in Fukuoka, the largest city of the southernmost island of Japan, Kyushu. He started playing football at a local team in Fukuoka called Mikku Kickers. In the first months of 2014, he was one of two players, who accomplished to be selected to the U15 team of Avispa Fukuoka as he was 15 years old. Whilst playing in the youth academy he continued obtaining his education at Kyushu High School and following that at the Kyushu Sangyo University. Before the end of the 2015 season, he made his debut as a professional football player in the third round match of the domestic cup against Machida Zelvia. In the following 2016 season, he was not a part of the squad for the first half of the season. However in the second half of the season he started playing frequently as a part of the starting lineup. Even though he was not able to prevent the relegation from J1 League, his performance in 16 games in the second half of the season, as well as his potential caught the attention.
Even before becoming a part of the youth academy of Avispa Fukuoka, Tomiyasu was an essential part of national teams of Japan on youth levels. He was first called to the U13 national team as he was 12 years old and following to that he was also a member of the U16 squad of Japan, which got eliminated in the quarter finals of 2014 Asian Championship. Being called up to every national team squad to participate in continental tournaments, his biggest success in this area was being an important part of U19 squad, which won the AFC U19 Championship in 2016 in Bahrain. His successful partnership with Yuta Nakayama of Kashiwa Reysol in the centre-back position as well as his almost flawless performance throughout the tournament was one of the key aspects for winning the championship of the U19 squad of Japan.
Even though his main position is centre-back, Tomiyasu also plays very often as a defensive midfielder for Avispa Fukuoka and national teams. He is mostly used in formations with defensive lines containing four players or midfields with two defensive midfielders: 4-2-2-2, 4-3-3 or 4-5-1 etc. In current 2017 season, besides playing as the left centre-back for Avispa Fukuoka in 4-4-2 formation, which was used most frequently, Tomiyasu also experienced some playing time as a defensive midfielder or left centre-back in 3-1-4-2 formation. In national teams, his trainers mostly use him as a left centre-back or defensive midfielder in 4-2-2-2 formation.
Strengths (Pace, Interceptions and Tackles, Work rate, Passing abilities and Aerial challenges)
It is important to mention that the 19 year-old has many remarkable strengths. First of all it should be mentioned that Tomiyasu is very fast for an average centre-back; during counter attacks, he doesn’t struggle to catch up the opposition. Moreover, using his pace he can intercept passes which were played behind the defensive line, before they get dangerous for his team. His pace explains the situation why he often plays as a defensive midfielder.
Because he is a defender, Tomiyasu is inherently very successful on the defensive end of the game. Interceptions as well as his sliding tackles are very successful (71% success rate), so he doesn’t allow his opponents to go past him. His defending style is rather based on interceptions outside of the box, the reason why his style is as mentioned can be possibly explained by preventing possible penalty kicks, if he is not successful at his tackles. Besides these two traits, the signature characteristic for Asian football players is also present for Tomiyasu, which is having a high work rate and all these traits together make Tomiyasu very valuable considering his age. Running and battling against opponents without stopping is a very important plus for a defender, also his work ethic should be mentioned. He takes every single match seriously and never loses his concentration during the match too. This is an indicator that he is mentally a strong defender.
Another reason why Tomiyasu sees playing time in the defensive midfield is his passing abilities being above average; on average he is passing the ball 62 times and his success rate is 88%, which is an impressive mean. Especially when he is playing as a centre-back, usually he is the one who starts off the attacking play from his own half. Sometimes he even dribbles the ball towards the midfield successfully (73% success rate on average) and tries to play through-balls too. So he is not the type of passer who mostly passes to his wingers or back to his goalkeeper and he has the role of a playmaker, this trait is very important for a 19 year-old defender which can be developed further too. Another strength of Tomiyasu, who is 1.88m tall, is his success at aerial challenges. Since he just turned 19, he has lots of time to develop his skills/strengths and time to reach to his potential, which is very high. Because of these strengths he is one of the wonderkids from Japan.
Weaknesses (Simple and critical mistakes, positioning, experience, slim structure)
The most significant weakness of Tomiyasu is his simple and critical mistakes during matches. He especially struggles against opponents, which rely mostly on putting pressure on defense and this leads to turnovers by Tomiyasu right outside the box or in his own half. This turnover occurs mostly in form of misplaced pass; so when feeling the pressure, Tomiyasu tend to pass the ball to the opponent instead of his own teammate. Positioning is another issue for him, during corner kicks or free kicks Tomiyasu sometimes struggles to position himself correctly. The same problem also occurs when the attacking side is slow-paced and Tomiyasu’s team defends as a team: He loses his area to defend and as a consequence the attacking side tries to score a goal via through balls. So Tomiyasu can turn the ball over even in situations, in which he is not necessarily under pressure. The main reason for these mistakes is the fact that he is playing football professionally for only two years and thus lack of experience; however it is very likely that this type of mistakes will disappear in a time period of 1 to 2 years.
To be successful in the highest level of football, he necessarily have to put weight on his body. Even though he is 1.88m tall, his body structure is very slim and he is also very weak. He usually competes in Japan or internationally against players who are not so strong because the football in Japan doesn’t rely too much on strong physiques or internationally he plays against players as old as him. Thus he haven’t had too many problems defending his opponents yet. This is why it is crucial for him to gain some weight and put muscle mass on his body to survive against stronger opponents.
Similar players; Luis Hernandez (Malaga), Ryan Donk (Galatasaray)
Considering all his strengths, weaknesses and physical traits, the player who is most similar to him is Luis Hernandez from Malaga. Both players’ abilities of pace and passing are very similar to each other. Another similar player to Tomiyasu would be Galatasaray’s Ryan Donk: Both players can play as centre-backs or defensive midfielders and their physical appearances as well as strengths are comparable.