The player known as the “Vietnamese Messi” arrived late last week for a whirlwind tour that included the 2015 J-League Nabisco Cup Final as well as a Meiji Yasuda J2 match featuring Mito Hollyhock, who have reportedly expressed interest in him for the 2016 season.
“I’m impressed with Japan,” 20-year-old Cong Phuong told Football Channel Asia. “Their cities are clean, the people are really friendly, discipline and well-mannered.
“The atmosphere in the J.League is thrilling. People sing all the time and do not stop until the end. After the match, people wait for their players to [greet supporters] and go back to their changing room before they leave. It is all about professionalism and passion.”
The former Vietnam U-19 captain has over a year of experience in the V.League after being promoted to HAGL’s top team in 2014.
“Japanese clubs are well-organized and they play the most exciting football in East Asia, if not the best in Asia,” Cong Phuong elaborated. “Physically, Japanese players and Vietnamese players are the same. [In Japan] they choose to play with short passes with a high tempo. It seems easy, but it isn’t. Their game plans are scientific and detailed.”
Cong Phuong hopes to be the second Vietnamese player to participate in the J2 after Vietnamese star Le Cong Vinh, who became a fan favorite at Consadole Sapporo over the second half of the 2013 season.
“Le Cong Vinh has given me some advice to adapt in Japan quickly,” Cong Phuong revealed, sounding confident about a potential move. “Honestly to be here in one of the best places in the world, things [would be] pretty easy for me.
“I feel happy. I am a lucky player to have this opportunity, so I [don’t feel] pressure. As a lucky player, I just have to go out there, show the fans what I am capable of, and do my best to help the team.”
Cong Phuong also touted HAGL teammates Nguyen Tuan Anh, Luong Xuan Truong and Nguyen Van Toan as players who could possibly join him in Japan.
“I believe [they are good enough to play in the J.League],” he revealed. “They have the skills and morale to help them adapt quickly in a professional environment like the J-League. They are the best products to come from HAGL Arsenal JMG Academy.”
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