When I write about players in a Player Profile, I usually write about players who will influence a match or deserve a shout out in a way where their consistency should be recognised. Yuya Kubo has been both. He has been a revelation since joining in January from Young Boys in Switzerland and Gent have just progressed, largely thanks to him!
The Japanese has settled extremely well at Gent. After picking up an injury at the back end of 2016, he lit up the Ghelamco Arena on his debut with a magnificent free kick against then leaders, Club Brugge. The set piece specialist scores all types of goals, whether from a dead ball, poaching a goal like on Tuesday against Zulte Waregem, or mazey individual efforts against Mechelen which could be described as Lionel Messi-esque.
Still only 23, and of course Asian, he settled down well in a completely different culture, of course probably not too disimilar to Switzerland, but the league is totally different in terms of difficulty and structure. After picking up his injury though, it seems that he doesn’t always complete 90 minutes, but usually by then his job is done. Along with where he is from, he is already indispensable to the team. The point being sometimes players from that part of the world can be bought for marketing reasons, but this is most definitely for footballing reasons!
Scoring 8 goals in just 12 matches, an incredible return for somebody who has just hit the ground running. Able to play up front, off the striker or cutting in from the left, he can show flexibility to make room for Coulibaly or Moses Simon without putting himself out of place in the process. With that said, De Buffalo’s host Anderlecht on Sunday. A huge match where a victory would put them just 2 points off of the leaders with 12 points still to play for! What makes me think though is that with this form, as a team and individually, where would Gent be in the Europa League if he were eligible to play, or even if he started in July 2016 in this form?
With that question asked, the rest he had up until Gent were eliminated from Europe meant he could solely focus and rest up for Pro League matches, and that was certainly Gent’s gain judging by his performances, which has continued into the play offs scoring 3 in his last 3! I do not envy Mbodji and Spajic Sunday with the Japanese fronting the Gent attack!