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Gamba Osaka's Nishino backing teenage pair

Gamba Osaka boss Akira Nishino is backing teenage pair Shohei Otsuka and Takashi Usami to help lead the J-League club this season.

The talented pair have been impressive during Gamba's Asian Champions League campaign so far and Nishino believes they can be used much more as the season progresses.

Nishino gave 17-year old Usami a start in the J-League against Omiya Ardija a couple of weeks ago whilst 19-year old Otsuka was brought on for the second half and their showings in the domestic league were praised by the coach.

"I think they did well. Overall they did a good job. For Takashi, it was a situation where I wanted to change him, but I felt something strong and powerful from him in his first full match," Nishino said.

"Otsuka played very calmly. They are good additions to the team and it was a big achievement for them."

But now Nishino knows he has to continue throwing down the gauntlet to the pair so they keep thriving and developing as players.

"More and more, I have to make greater demands of them. I need to be stricter with them so they keep improving," he added.

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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