Ryo Miyaichi thrilled to make Japan debut but admits he had nerves

The Arsenal teenager was a 61st-minute substitute in the win over Azerbaijan, with coach Alberto Zaccheroni stating he felt the youngster performed well enough
Japanese teenager Ryo Miyaichi admits he was nervous about making his international debut but was thrilled nonetheless after coming off the bench in the Samurai Blue's 2-0 win over Azerbaijan in Shizuoka.

The 19-year-old Arsenal winger was a 61st-minute substitute in the victory, where he tested the visiting keeper Kamran Agayev with a curling shot before crossing for Shinji Okazaki to head narrowly over the crossbar.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Miyaichi admitted the occasion brought nerves upon him.

"I was a little nervous out there, but I'm thrilled to have set foot on the pitch for the national side," he said. "I expect the qualifiers to be nothing short of difficult."

The youngster added that he hoped to be involved in Japan's upcoming World Cup qualifiers which includes matches against Oman, Jordan and Australia, even eyeing off a maiden international goal.

"I have scored my first goals in the second game with Feyenoord and Bolton. So I want to score with my second game (with Japan)," Miyaichi said.

Meanwhile, Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni was pleased with his side's performance including the efforts of his three debutants, Miyaichi, Hiroki Sakai and Hideto Takahashi.

"We created chances from both sides and occasionally from the centre as well. The international-based players who hadn't played in a while moved well, and the three players who made their debuts did well," the Italian said.

He added: "Some players seemed like they needed to find the rhythm of the match. Also we created a lot of chances but next time I want to turn more of those chances into goals."

Zaccheroni's first final round World Cup qualifier is away to Oman on June 3 and he insisted his side were mentally prepared for the challenge.

"On the mental side of things the atmosphere was great before the match and I'm satisfied. Going into the final round of qualifying I think we're mentally ready, and now I want to make sure we're physically prepared as well," he said.

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