It has taken Yuto Nagatomo just three years to establish himself as one of the most accomplished defenders in both the J.League and Japan national team.
Capable of running up to 15km over the course of 90 minutes, he is able to play at centre-back or on either side of the backline. Originally a winger, he is attack-conscious when deployed at full-back and bases his game on those of Daniel Alves and Patrice Evra.
He made his FC Tokyo debut in 2007 and made a lasting impression on their fans in a game against Tokyo Verdy. Despite being only 1.70m tall, Nagamoto was assigned to mark the colossal Hulk, then the J.League’s most formidable striker. The former jokingly described himseld as ‘Gorilla’ before the duel, and he frustrated the now-Porto player with his bravery and reading of the game throughout the meeting.
Nagamoto made his first appearance for Japan in 2008, when he also ran out in the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament. He played six times in the Samurai Blue’s qualification campaign for South Africa 2010, usually at left-back.