Premier League sensation Kaoru Mitoma wrote university dissertation on dribbling
There's no doubt about it, Brighton & Hove Albion's Kaoru Mitoma is one of the most dangerous winger's in the Premier League.
Back in 2021, Mitoma signed for the Seagulls from Japanese J1 League side Kawasaki Frontale, before immediately being loaned out to Belgian side Royale Union Saint-Gilloise, who have faced off against Liverpool in the Europa League this season. Saint-Gilloise have a close link to Brighton, with the Seagulls owner Tony Bloom also serving as the former's majority shareholder.
Following a season in Belgium, Mitoma returned to Brighton, with no one really aware of what damage he could do in the Premier League. However, last term, the Japanese international took the league by storm.
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Under the guidance of Graham Potter, and now Roberto De Zerbi, Mitoma has become a Premier League star, with the 26-year-old scoring seven goals and notching five assists during the 2022/23 season, helping Brighton to qualify for the Europa League.
Part of what makes Mitoma such a threat whilst on the ball is his impressive dribbling, which has seen the winger turn Premier League defenders inside out on more than one occasion. And while there could have been no one who could have foreseen Mitoma hitting the ground running last term at the Amex, it is however easy to see why he is so dangerous when you know that he wrote his university thesis on the art of dribbling.
What in football would you be able to write a thesis about? Let us know in the comments section below.
Having been a part of Kawasaki Frontale's academy since he was 11, Mitoma turned down a pro contract at 19 from the J1 League side, in order to attend the University of Tsukuba, where he studied physical education, a decision which would later pay off when he then joined the former in 2019.
"I just felt I wasn’t ready physically and that I wouldn’t be in the first team immediately," Mitoma told the Athletic about his decision to attend university. "I thought the best step was to get more playing time and get better."
And his decision to write his thesis on dribbling came down to his love of football, with Mitoma even sticking cameras on his team-mates in order to help him understand what makes a player good on the ball. "It was the easiest subject for me to choose because I love football and dribbling is what I love to do,” the Brighton winger added.
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"There were no rules on how much to write, but I progressed with it by analysing my team-mates that were good and not-so-good dribblers and trying to find out why that was. I put cameras on the heads of my team-mates to study where and what they were looking at and how their opponents were looking at them.
“I learned that the good players weren’t looking at the ball. They would look ahead, trap the ball without looking down at their feet. That was the difference. I was one of the better dribblers at that time, but not exceptional."
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