Ever since the prominent playmaker Penn Orji, whose performances became a talking point of the East Bengal game, decided to jump ship and join Mohammedan Sporting, questions had been raised as to who will prove talented and apt enough to replace him. The answer came in the form of Ryuji Sueoka formerly of Salgaocar FC.
Though efficacious for the last two seasons with his previous club, Ryuji has no intention of being drawn into comparisons with the player who he is taking the place of.
Ryuji who is somewhat considered as a surrogate to Penn, has stated that he aims to focus on the important aspects of his game like versatility which he believes will uplift the entire team's performance and bring them to the top.
“There is a difference between the playing style of Penn and that of mine. Penn operates from a more attacking position. I do respect him for the way he plays. But I just want to concentrate on my own performance. Don’t want to think much about him,” explained the Japanese international to The Telegraph, on Monday.
An important point for coach Marcos Falopa to note is that he now has the freedom to implement the all-important diamond formation in the middle of the park. So choosing the constituents here will be very important and that’s where Ryuji hopes to stand out.
“In any case, we’ve got a strong midfield. And if I operate as a midfielder, we can attack more. I feel if we apply the diamond system in our play, it will really be helpful,” Sueoka stressed optimistically.
Ryuji knows his new teammate Edeh Chidi all too well from their time together at Salgaocar and is hoping to re-kindle their partnership.
Set to inherit the clubs No. 11 jersey, the 34 year old Ryuji said, “I do have an idea about how Chidi goes on, considering the number of matches I played alongside him. I hope we’ll combine well again.” He expressed his objective which is to win the I-League again, this time with East Bengal.
“India need to follow the Japanese model more instead of looking solely at the English Premier League. Like their Japanese counterparts, most Indian footballers aren’t big-bodied. Despite the limitations, Japan are the top side in Asia at present. So I feel Japan has set an example, which India too should follow,” Sueoka elucidated when asked about his opinion and advice on Indian football’s development.