News

Football: Japan winger Junya Ito reveals title ambitions with Genk

Japan winger Junya Ito said Monday he aims to help new club Genk win the Belgian top-flight title this season.

The 25-year-old has joined the Belgian league leaders from J-League second-division side Kashiwa Reysol on a loan deal through the end of next season.

«My goal is to help make the club stronger,» Ito said at his inaugural press conference. «Right now, we’re the No. 1 team in Belgium. I want to get on the pitch and be part of winning a championship.»

Ito unveiled the No. 7 jersey he will wear for Genk, who hold an 11-point lead over Club Brugge at the top of the Belgian First Division A after 25 games.

The right winger, who can also play as a right-back or midfielder, took part in his first training session with Genk on Sunday.

«It’s a nice atmosphere. My teammates spoke to me and it feels like there are a lot of good guys (on the team),» said Ito, a member of the Japan team who finished runners-up at the AFC Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates this month.

The Kanagawa Prefecture native made his national team debut at the 2017 East Asian Football Championships in a squad made up of domestic league players.

After a roughly year-long absence, he was picked for Hajime Moriyasu’s debut as Japan manager, a 3-0 friendly win over Costa Rica last September, and has been a regular member of the Samurai Blue squad since.

Ito’s play was among the few bright spots last season for Reysol fans, who saw their club relegated to J2 following a 17th-place finish.

All — Kyodo News+

Leave a Comment