Interviews

Mitoma back and ready for Japan tour

Our winger will travel to his home country later this month for Albion's pre-season trip.

By Bruce Talbot • 09 July 2024

By James Boardman
Kaoru Mitoma returned to training with the rest of the Albion squad on Monday.

Kaoru Mitoma is fit and ready to return to Japan for our pre-season tour.

The 27-year-old missed the final three months of last season with a back problem but rejoined the rest of the squad at the weekend to start preparations for the new campaign under head coach Fabian Hurzeler.

“It was quite frustrating to finish the season with two or three months of not playing,” said Mitoma. “There were a few other injured players as well, so none of us could help the team. I think it's good for the team and good for me to be back in better shape than I was before the injury.

“It’s important for me to prepare well so I can play to my strengths.”

Albion’s trip to Japan includes friendlies against Kashima Antlers and Tokyo Verdy, and Mitoma is looking forward to playing against two of the top J.League teams.

He added, “It’s very rare for any team to play pre-season games in Japan. It’ll probably be the first time for many European players to travel to Japan too. I hope they have fun, and we’ll be playing against great J-League teams.

“I played for Kawasaki (Frontale) for a year and a half, and from there I signed a contract with Brighton. So without the J.League I wouldn't be here, and the J.League tells the story of the history of football in Japan. I was developed by this league and it is the symbol of Japanese football.

“The two teams [we play against] have different characteristics so both matches will be different, but they both play at a high level. We know that even if we play a good level of football we won't be able to beat them easily.

“I’m looking forward to playing in front of so many supporters at the National Stadium.”