Kenta Hoshihara (Striker, 24) has added to the competition up front with his return to the club for their first J2 season.
Kenta spent half of last season on loan to Mito HollyHock in order to get some game time; during the 2012 season he made just two substitute appearances in the league totalling 53 minutes in defeats to Yokohama F. Marinos and F.C. Tokyo. His time was not improved on that much at Mito, who had a really difficult second half to the season, where he made 11 appearances, just five as a starter and with just one goal to his name.
This adds to a less than impressive return for the striker in his professional Gamba career, albeit he has never started a game for the club in the league. He totals just ten league appearances and one goal, plus three ACL games.
Yet Kenta knows the club well, having joined the Junior Youth team in 2001. He will face stiff competition from Leandro, Sato, Kawanishi, Lee, Hirai and Paulinho – if all of these players remain with the team. It seems like he will not be getting much game time unless some of these players leave or go out on loan. Another tough year is ahead of him, and at 24 he needs to be playing regular football. Nevertheless, the player believes that his loan spell at Mito has helped him to improve:
“I wasn’t able to show my true strength at Gamba previously but I was able to make a number of appearances and show this strength in Mito. I will make use of this experience and keep trying hard for Gamba.” (Thanks to Vinci Per Osaka)
Time will only tell if he can push his way into the starting eleven. Let’s hope that he can show his true strength and force his way into Kenta Hasegawa’s plans. Good luck for 2013, Hoshihara!