Japan national team center back Itakura Ko, who plays for Borussia Mönchengladbach in the German Bundesliga, will undergo ankle surgery.
It is unclear whether he will participate in the next few weeks, but attention is being paid to whether it will have an impact on the Qatar Asian Cup to be held in January next year. The Mönchengladbach club said on the 26th, “Itakura is scheduled to undergo ankle surgery. He has a chronic problem and needs minor surgery. The 26-year-old defender will not be available for several weeks.”
Itakura, born in January 1997, is a center back who is often compared to Kim Min-jae, who is one year older. After making his professional debut at Kawasaki Frontale in 2015, he joined Manchester City, a powerhouse in the English Premier League, in 2018, but was immediately loaned to the Dutch club Hrenningen due to lack of a work permit. Afterwards, he played for Schalke 04 in Germany and then officially transferred to Mönchengladbach in the 2022/23 season.
He is 186cm tall and is good at jumping, so he has recently been playing as the starting central defender for the Japanese national team. Last year, he played full-time in all three group stage matches of the Qatar World Cup and missed the round of 16 against Croatia due to accumulated yellow cards.
In January, when Jose Mourinho, the manager of AS Roma, mentioned the failed attempt to bring in Minjae Kim when he was the manager of Tottenham, Itakura was pointed out by the Italian media as a player who could relieve Mourinho’s regret over missing Minjae Kim.
It is known that when Kim Min-jae transferred from Naples to Bayern Munich last summer, the Naples club mentioned him as a replacement.
The news of Itakura’s surgery can be considered a variable in Korea’s ability to win the Asian Cup. This is because in Korea, Kim Min-jae remains healthy without injury even in the forced march to the Bundesliga and international matches.
The Japan national team’s center back duo includes Itakura and Takehiro Tomiyasu, who plays for Arsenal, and Kogi Machida, who plays for Union Saint-Gillelois in Belgium, plays in the rotation굿모닝토토. With Itakura missing, the importance of Machida and others during the Asian Cup may increase.