An attacking midfielder among the emerging generation of Japanese football stars, Takashi Inui can slot in behind the strikers or play on both wings. A playmaker currently with Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga, Inui has been turning heads ever since he won the annual national high school football tournament in 2005 with Yasu High School, a renowned football nursery.

 

Usui represented Japan at Under-21 level, and his obvious attacking talents ensured he was snapped up by Yokohama F Marinos after he graduated from high school. However, he was unable to command a regular starting role at star-laden Marinos, so in 2008 he transferred to second-division side Cerezo Osaka, where he formed an electric combination with current Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa. A string of superb performances earned Inui a call-up to the national side in 2009, and in 2011 he joined German second-division club Bochum. He made the jump to Eintracht for the 2012-13 season, where he has regularly found the back of the net.

 

A selfless creator of goals for others, Inui can also find the net himself, often after making penetrating runs into the penalty box. His main rivals for a spot in the Blue Samurai line-up include Kagawa and Hiroshi Kiyotake of Nuremberg.