Kyogo Furuhashi is undoubtedly an incredibly talented player and likely to be one of Japan's best players and potential exports.
This season, he is having a career high with Vissel Kobe and as well as producing goals, assists and fantastic attacking opportunities, he is also continuing to develop season on season.
Kyogo started playing football from a young age in Nara Prefecture. He started his youth career playing football with Chuo University in Tokyo between 2013 and 2016. Chuo University is one of the oldest and most prestigious institutions in Japan, boasting a large nunber of famous alumni, from footballers, to athletes, businessman, lawyers, journalists and actors. It was there that Kyogo began to showcase his abilities and turn the heads of various J.League clubs. But it was then J2 outfit, FC Gifu, who gained his signature.
He joined FC Gifu in for the 2017 season and was immediately brought into the team. It shows belief in his skills and ability that manager at the time, Takeshi Oki, started Kyogo in every single game in the season. He played in 44 games across the league and cup, scoring 7 goals and assisting 11 in his debut season.
Like before, Kyogo was turning the heads of clubs, particularly of those in the division above. He started the 2017 season with FC Gifu, playing in 26 matches, scoring 11 goals and 7 assists. It was later in the season, that a certain Hyōgo prefecture club could no longer ignore him.
Vissel Kobe signed Kyogo Furuhashi midway during the season.
Growth at Vissel Kobe
As soon as Kobe bought Furuhashi, he was brought into the fold. Playing with the likes of ex Barcelona player, Andres Iniesta and German international, Lukas Podolski. Kyogo would then be joined by players such as Thomas Vermaelen and David Villa slightly later. For the remainder of the 2018 season, Kyogo had 13 appearances, scoring 5 and assisting 1.
The following year, Furuhashi played in 37 games, scoring 12 goals and assisting 9 across the league and cup. Quite an impressive tally, when you think of the calibre of teammates he had, particularly in the likes of Villa, Podolski and Iniesta. He played as a left winger for these games. Kyogo scored an important goal in the Emperor's Cup semi-final match against Shimizu S-Pulse. Furuhashi secured Vissel's third goal to seal a 3–1 victory and earn a place in their first ever major cup final. Kobe would go on to defeat Kashima Antlers in the final, with Kyogo playing a big role for the side.
For the 2020 season he again got similar achievements. He had 16 goals and 6 assists in 39 appearances across both the league and cup. He also scored Vissel Kobe's second goal in their 2020 Japanese Super Cup win over Yokohama F. Marinos. Just a few days later he was participating in Vissel Kobe's first ever match in a continental competition which was a games against JDT, a team which were the champions of the Malaysia Super League. Furuhashi scored in the 5–1 win. Kyogo also scored the only goal of a 1-0 win over K.League side, Suwon Samsung Bluewings
This year, Kyogo has really come into his own. With it being announced that Andres Iniesta would be injured for a number of games for the 2021 season, Vissel Kobe opted for a formation and style change. Instead of playing him on the left wing like usual, Kyogo was deployed as a striker and that was a fantastic decision to make. Furuhashi is easily having one of his best ever years and has grown in such a short space of time. Whilst he never lacked confidence, he has looked to create more, makes more runs at defenders, improved his dribbling and passing. At the time of writing this Furuhashi has played in 21 games so far this season, scoring 15 and assisting 2 across the league and cup. He is cute why the top scorer in the J.League with 14 goals and Vissel Kobe currently sit 3rd in the league. One of the highest positions they have occupied for a while. Naturally, there is still lots of games remaining in the season, Kyogo's goals and attacking prowess have played a large part in their success thus far.
Kyogo got his first national callup for Japans senior side against Venezuela in November 2019. It was an unfortunate 4-1 loss, however Furuhashi was able to show glimpses of what he had to offer. He has since had 5 more appearances for Japan, scoring 3 in that time. He is certainly one of the first names in a squad announcement for Japan.
Style of Play
In terms of style, he loves to dribble on the wing at defenders, usually leaving them on their backsides as he uses his fast pace to run past them and create an opportunity. Since being deployed as a striker Furuhashi likes to play high up, usually in line with defenders so he can run onto balls over the top or through the back line. He is great finisher, scoring an array of goals, whether they be on his left foot, right foot, header, inside the box or outside the box. He is always looking to get involved in play. If he notices that the team is struggling to play out from the back, he will happily drop down to create a passing opportunity and buildup. He reads the game well and is confident in his abilities.
As of the time of writing this, it was announced today (16th July 2021) that Furuhashi is set to join Scottish Premier League club, Celtic. This appointment is a fantastic one and a great deal for both Celtic and Kyogo. Especially under new manager Ange Postecoglou, as the Australian loves to play a high tempo attacking game and that suits exactly how Furuhashi likes to play. But also Ange is great at developing players and I have no doubt that he will help Kyogo develop even more.
It can sometimes take a while for Japanese player to acclimatise to a move into Europe. As far as I'm aware Kyogo cannot speak fluent English, although I believe Vissel Kobe did have a course which did quick English lessons. This could be a potential barrier for Kyogo, but I believe he will able to excel on the pitch and allow his football to do the talking. Here's wishing you all the best Kyogo!