Heckingbottom puts pressure on Ideguchi to earn his place

Leeds manager Paul Heckingbottom has heaped pressure on January signing Yosuke Ideguchi to force his way back into the Japan team.

Ideguchi signed at Elland Road in January with big expectations. The 21 year-old midfielder has gone through the youth teams for Japan, and drew lots of praise for his performances with J-League side Gamba Osaka.

The young midfielder hasn’t had a chance to make an impression at Leeds though, as he was immediately loaned out to Spanish side Cultural Leonesa on arrival.

He has now been dropped from the Japan team, after making just five appearances since moving to the Spanish second tier club. Leeds fans joked yesterday that the club had already ruined his career, but Heckingbottom said it’s up to the 21 year-old to force himself back into action.

“That’s down to the manager and the player,” said the manager in his press conference yesterday.

“The player has to perform well enough to get picked, it doesn’t matter where you are or what club you’re at, that has to be the case. You can force a manager to pick you through performance, through understanding and getting a clear idea of what the manager wants from you and going out and delivering.

“We’ve sent a player there and does he need game time? Yes, but it’s down to him. If that impacts on his international career then so be it but it’s no different to any other player.”

Ideguchi has struggled to adjust to life with his loan club and even told Marca he was struggling with the cold weather… in Spain.

The 21 year-old already has 11 senior appearances for his country and will be desperate to force his way back in before the World Cup.

Leeds fans, what do you think of Heckingbottom’s comments? Let us know in the comments below…