YUTA NAKAYAMA (KASHIWA REYSOL, Japan)
2017 stats (as of 05th July with 17 rounds played): 16 games (1420 minutes) – 0 goals – 0 assists – 1 yellow cards – 1 red cards
Despite being just 20 Yuta Nakayama is playing his second season as a regular starter for Kashiwa Reysol’s senior squad and undoubtedly the extremely talented central defender is one of the key players for the successes enjoyed by the Yellows in 2017.
Nakayama is showing stunning natural instincts this year and despite not being the tallest of players he is always excellently positioned to neutralise dangers. He is impressing with his ability to always find himself between the arriving cross and the striker, which already brought seven clean sheets for his team this season. Nakayama is starting every match he is available for over the past two years and his health and physical condition seem to be at a top level.
Back in 2016 he played in 32 games for Kashiwa and on top of the very solid defensive displays also contributed two goals, which comes to show that with the right development he can become a real threat from set pieces. Nakayama is also one of these versatile modern players that can easily fill several positions and he is a very capable left-back, as well as left wing-back if his team operates with three defenders. He has the speed and crossing abilities needed to be successful in these roles, but his true strength lies in the heart of the defence where he quickly became one of the best ball winners in the entire J-League.
All this and the fact that he has many years ahead of him to master his skills make Yuta Nakayama one of the hottest defenders currently playing in the J-League and he will definitely be a great addition to any squad that looks for a dedicated young player who will always give it his all on the pitch for the cause.