Chanathip keen to prove himself
Thai playmaker begins stint at Japanese club
Thailand midfielder Chanathip Songkrasin wants to prove himself in Japan as he began his spell at Japanese club Consadole Sapporo yesterday.
The diminutive star, who is dubbed 'Messi Jay', arrived in Japan on Tuesday to play for the Hokkaido-based team on a 18-month loan deal from Thai League 1 champions SCG Muang Thong United.
The 23-year-old playmaker had a light training session yesterday as he still had a slight injury to his right foot.
About 100 journalists and fans were at Consadole's training ground to watch the club's new player practise alone.
"I am glad that I received a warm welcome from my teammates. But I have not yet trained with them,'' said Chanathip, the first Thai player in the J1 League.
"I want to prove myself at Consadole Sapporo. I want to make a difference to the team and help them improve."
He said the weather in Japan at the moment was fine for him.
Consadole coach Shuhei Yomoda said: "He is a good player. I want him to become fully fit and adapt himself to conditions here as soon as possible."
Chanathip's teammates include former Japan international Junichi Inamoto.
The 37-year-old midfielder, who has played for several European clubs including Arsenal, Galatasaray and Eintracht Frankfurt, said he wanted to give Chanathip some advice about playing aboard.
"I have followed him -- he is a good player," he said.
Consadole are struggling to stay up in the Japanese top flight.
They are currently 15th in the 18-team league and just one point above the relegation zone.
Chanathip earlier said playing in Japan was his dream and that he wanted to help the club in their fight for survival.
According to Consadole's Facebook account, about 100 people, including fans and members of the media, greeted Chanathip when he arrived at New Chitose Airport in Sapporo late Tuesday.
The club's official Twitter account posted a video of Chanathip taking to the club's practice field.
Meanwhile, Oxford United manager Michael Appleton has left the club to become Craig Shakespeare's assistant at English Premier League side Leicester City on a three-year contract, Reuters reported.
"I am delighted that the club have been able to bring a coach of Michael's standing to Leicester City," Shakespeare said in a statement.
Leicester City, the 2016 EPL champions, are owned by Thailand's King Power Group.