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Shimizu's Ono back in the J-League

Shinji Ono is back in the J-League and seeking a spot in the Japanese World Cup squad.

The 30-year old midfielder returned to his homeland in January this year after leaving German club VfL Bochum where he spent two years and is hoping he can push for selection when the Blue Samurai take on the world in South Africa in June.

Ono is now playing for Shimizu S-Pulse and his addition to the squad has seen them kickstart the season with two wins and two draws as they currently hold second place on the league table but he believes they can get even better.

"I'm just trying to fit in here," he told the Daily Yomiuri. "We're playing well as a team. I think we could be even better if the other guys demanded more out of me. I've been trying to tell them what I want from them, and it'd be nice if they could do the same to me.

"But I think that will take care of itself with time; it's still early in the year."

Shimizu coach Kenta Hasegawa is expecting big things from Ono after successful stints with Urawa Reds, Feyenoord and Bochum in the past few years and hopes the man they call Tensai (Japanese for genius) can deliver the goods.

"We all know how extremely talented Shinji is, and how we integrate him into the team will be a key for us this season," Hasegawa said.

"He's come back to his hometown after having had a lot to think about in Europe, and we expect his performance to get better and better as the season progresses.

"You hear all these stories about how he can be a little difficult to coach, but he's done everything we've asked him to do. I think one of the problems is that the people around Shinji haven't really told him what they need from him. We expect greater things from Shinji with us in the future."

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