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Ex-Cerezo Osaka teammate Nichols insists Minamino will succeed at Liverpool

Liverpool's January signing Takumi Minamino is being backed for Premier League success by a former Cerezo Osaka teammate.

Mitch Nichols remembers his introduction to the wiry midfielder, which came in the aftermath of a move to Cerezo Osaka from Melbourne Victory in early 2014.

He recalled to the London Evening Standard: "You could tell that, for how old he was, just how sharp he was and willing to learn.

“We had a fairly strong squad with the Japanese players in and around the national team, a lot of players to learn from.

“His dedication was something I hadn't seen before in someone so young, coming from Australia. [He was] in the gym after training, and before and after just honing his skills.

“You could just see that he was confident, he wanted the ball. For someone so young, he wanted to take responsibility and wanted the ball at all times and didn't waver from how he wanted to play.

“His work ethic, I think it still shows now, on and off the ball. You don't see that a lot, that tenacity, especially with an attacker. That's what resonated with me the most."

The Aussie added: “He is a player who doesn't give up. He knows what he can do, but also what he needs to improve. And he does that.

“He sticks at it and doesn't give up."

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Paul Vegas

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