Tuesday, August 4, 2020
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Keisuke Honda looks to overcome AC Milan struggles

Tokyo: Japanese playmaker Keisuke Honda has urged AC Milan fans to be patient, saying it’s only a “matter of time” before he hits form at his new club.

Supporters of the Italian giants have jeered the 27-year-old since his high-profile transfer from Russian champion side CSKA Moscow in January.

The midfielder is yet to score in seven Serie A matches and has been roundly criticised by sections of Italy’s media.

“I know it won’t be easy but I will only have to move forward, as I have always done, while enjoying myself,” Honda said following Japan’s 4-2 friendly win over New Zealand in Tokyo on Wednesday.

“I can definitely produce a result if I keep trying. I guess it’s a matter of time,” he added.

Honda set up two goals in the Blue Samurai’s win at the National Stadium from his favoured central position behind a lone striker.

He has been effective in the role for his national side, with Japan becoming four-time Asian champions in 2011 and qualifying last year for their fifth straight World Cup finals.

But at Milan, coach Clarence Seedorf has been deploying Honda on the right side or as a defensive midfielder.

The play-making position “is in my DNA”, Honda told Japanese media on Wednesday. “It feels like home and it is comfortable.”

“What is important is how I positively deal with the uncomfortableness,” of the other positions, he added.

Honda’s free kick in the 11th minute was headed home by J-League defender Masato Morishige for Japan’s third goal against New Zealand.

On 17 minutes, Honda fed a back-heel pass for Mainz striker Shinji Okazaki to bang in his second goal of the night.