Junichi Inamoto has been there and done it. The midfielder has, indeed, played outside his homeland in England, Turkey, Germany and France, appeared at two FIFA World Cup™ competitions and three FIFA Confederations Cups. At 30, he is the fulcrum of Takeshi Okada’s team.
Inamoto cut his teeth at Gamba Osaka, debuting for the Japanese giants while he was still in high school. He helped his nation finish as the surprise runners-up at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Nigeria 1999, and turned out at the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament in 2000; the same year in which he made his senior international bow.
Inamoto had loan spell with Arsenal and Fulham between 2001 and 2004, but it was at Korea/Japan 2002 that he really made his name. Strong, tireless and a good distributor of possession, he scored in his team’s games against Belgium and Russia and made a grand impression overall.
The Yusui native had spells at West Bromwich Albion and Cardiff City, before joining Galatasaray in 2006 and Eintracht Frankfurt a year later. He enjoyed regular first-team football in both Turkey and Germany, but was condemned to bench-warming duties during a stint with French side Rennes in 2009.
Inamoto penned a deal with Kawasaki Frontale ahead of the J.League 2010, and quickly made a positive impact at his new club.