Sota Koshimichi (Sanfrecce Hiroshima) – Scout Report

Sota Koshimichi is a 19-year-old right-wing-back who plays for Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the Japanese first division (J1). Koshimichi is a graduate of Hiroshima’s academy and broke through as a senior player this season. He had a very productive time in the Japanese youth leagues before that, scoring 5 goals and adding 3 assists in 1354 minutes at the U-18 level. He has been called up to Japanese youth teams in the past but does not have a significant national team career under his belt.

Koshimichi is very much an attacking player. If you are buying him you are doing so with the idea that he will play as an aggressive wing-back. An interesting wrinkle to the way Koshimichi provides offence is that he cuts inside a lot and takes a lot of shots. He is right-footed but he still is very comfortable cutting onto his left foot to either deliver a cross or have a shot himself. He also has a tendency to pop up at the back post when the ball is crossed in from the opposite flank. Koshimichi is quite strong and good in the air so he is the rare wing-back who is a threat to receive the ball in the box off of crosses. So, overall, he does very different stuff than your usual wing-back. But he still does some typical wing-back stuff as well. He is an above-average dribbler, capable of beating players 1v1. I find his movements to be a little stiff sometimes, and I think that holds him back a little bit. But he can use feints well to create a little bit of space for himself to put a cross in. He’s also fairly quick with the ball at his feet and capable of providing width to the attack. Koshimichi is also a pretty decent passer. He can play passes in behind defences from wide areas and is very adept at getting the ball into the box.

Koshimichi is far from an elite defensive player but he does enough to not be a liability. He’s quite strong which makes him capable of winning aerial battles and contests for loose balls. Since he is such an attacking player a lot of his defensive actions are higher up the field. He’s good at closing players down and winning the ball back high up the field. But, of course, his aggressive style does mean the ball gets played behind him a lot. Hiroshima set up pretty well tactically to deal with that and any team he joined would have to do the same.

Koshimichi is an extremely effective player in a very strong senior league in his age 19 season. So, in my view, he has to be seen as a candidate for a value buy for teams in top-5 leagues. Lots of Japanese players go to Germany. I think he could step into the 2. Bundesliga pretty easily. But if I were doing recruitment for a top Bundesliga club, even a Bayern or a Dortmund, I’d be giving some strong consideration to buying him with the plan to loan him out and develop him.

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