Toyota Asia Rising Star of April - Hayao Kawabe

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J-League
The 22-year-old stands out as one among a rare breed of elegant wide midfielders...

The wide midfielder role is something that is going out of vogue in football these days. The wingers these days are all more forward-thinking and are essentially wide forwards. 

However, one young Japanese talent - Hayao Kawabe - promises to be a proponent of the wide midfielder role. The elegant 22-year-old was given a professional contract at the tender age of 18 by Sanfrecce Hiroshima and then went on loan to Jubilo Iwata.

But after three seasons, he is back in Sanfrecce and has made an impact. 

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Sanfrecce coach, Hiroshi Jofoku, sees something special from Kawabe. He put in the right midfielder position and the results have been brilliant. While aggression is not part of his game, his supply to the forwards was delightful as they made merry. 

There have been two assists collected from 11 appearances in the 2018 J-League by him. His best performance came when Sanfrecce beat Yokohama Marinos 3-1. Though he did not score a goal, Kawabe contributed in all three goals. 

Though he is yet to be capped at the national level, Kawabe is a star for the future. 

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