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CAPTAIN TSUBASA: College student called up to Japan U23 team

CAPTAIN TSUBASA: College student called up to Japan U23 team

Shunta Tanaka was a member of the Japan U23 squad, who does not belong to any professional football teams.

Shunta Tanaka said that if he had not been called by coach Hajime Moriyasu to Japan U23, he would have become a teacher. He did not joke about it.

Before being a member of Japan U23 and Japan national football team, Tanaka was studying at Osaka University of Health and Sport Sciences. Tanaka also revealed that he had given up the dream of being a professional footballer for many years ago.

"I used to be a member of the Gamba Osaka youth team, playing alongside many stars such as Ritsu Doan. However, I failed to advance to the U16 team, so I had to attend Riseisha High School, playing football as my hobby at that time", said Tanaka.

"Following that, I continued playing for the football team of Osaka University of Health and Sport Sciences, competing at Kansai Universities' League. That was when I was seen by J1 League scouts".

Impressed by Tanaka's performance as a defender, Japan national football team head coach Hajime Moriyasu called him to the senior team to play at the 2019 EAFF E1 Championship.

He debuted as one of three centre-backs in the game against Hong Kong, remaining a stable form to help the team gain a victory. After that, he went on appearing at the Japan U23 team competing at the 2020 AFC U23 Championship.

Moreover, he signed a professional contract with J1 League club Consadole Sapporo, which made him play alongside Chanathip Songkrasin next season.