Arsenal full-back Takehiro Tomiyasu has been spending his time off by coaching school children in his hometown of Fukoka in Japan.
The 23-year-old, who signed for the Gunners on a four-year deal for around £12million from Bologna on deadline day last summer, enjoyed an impressive debut season in the Premier League albeit slightly hampered by injury problems during the second half of the campaign. He has become a popular figure among the fanbase during his first year at the Emirates and well set to feature under Mikel Arteta heavily next season as the club aims to capture a Champions League spot that narrowly evaded them in the most recent campaign.
Before that, and before the players return for pre-season training next week, many members of the squad have been taking some well-deserved time off, with some having less time to relax than others due to their participation in international fixtures following the end of their season with Arsenal. Tomiyasu is one such player, though due to a calf injury he did not play in either of Japan’s recent wins over Paraguay or Ghana or the 1–0 defeat to Brazil. He was however named as an unused substitute during the 3-0 defeat to Tunisia before the international camp finished.
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Since then, the full-back has spent time reconnecting with friends and family in his home city of Fukuoka as well as coaching some middle and high school students that play for the youth team of Tomiyasu’s first professional club Avispa Fukuoka. The session saw Tomiyasu share training methods he has picked up at both Arsenal and with the Japan national team, saying he wanted to show the kids exactly what it’s like playing at the highest level of the game.
He said: “I wanted to convey what I am learning at Arsenal and the Japanese national team. I hope that it will be a catalyst for the growth of the players.” When asked about Japan’s chances at the Qatar World Cup later this year, Tomiyasu added: “I think that continuing to play for Arsenal is the most important thing. I want to lay a foundation for my body that prevents injuries.”
As part of his coaching session, Tomiyasu also presented the Avispa Fukuoka youth players with Arsenal shirts before going to watch the first team in their J1 League defeat to Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Friday afternoon. The club honoured the full-back, who played for their senior side 51 times between 2015-2017, by dedicating a banner to him in the stadium during the match.
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