Takuma Asano reckons that he’s improved massively since going out on loan to Stuttgart.

Asano is half-way through his second year-long loan spell at Stuttgart after failing to obtain a work permit to play for Arsenal and the Japan international believes the first-team football in Germany has massively helped him prepare for the World Cup next year.

“My strengths are my movement on or off the ball, as well as my speed,” Asano told FIFA’s official website.

“I’ve improved on winning one-on-one duels since joining Stuttgart, and I have also become better in defence. These are skills and experiences which will help me perform better for Japan.”

Last season, the 23-year-old, who the Gunners signed from Sanfrecce Hiroshima in 2016, made 26 Bundesliga appearances, scoring four goals and providing four assists. This term, he’s only netted one goal in 15 appearances but obviously still feels as if he’s developing well.

asano bayern
STUTTGART, GERMANY – DECEMBER 16: Takuma Asano of Stuttgart controls the ball during the Bundesliga match between VfB Stuttgart and FC Bayern Muenchen at Mercedes-Benz Arena on December 16, 2017 in Stuttgart, Germany. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Bongarts/Getty Images)

If Asano had obtained his work permit as soon as Arsenal had signed him, it’s unlikely that he would have been given half as much regular football as he has in Germany. Therefore, you have to agree that the loan spell has definitely done him good. We all know it doesn’t always go so smoothly.

Asano hopes that his experience playing for Stuttgart will give him more of a chance of getting picked for Japan in the World Cup next year. So far, the forward has been capped 17 times and scored three goals for his country and it’s natural that he wants to improve on that on the big stage.

“Regardless of my age and experiences, I am just trying to work hard to win my place with the national team,” he said.

“I want to do my utmost for the Japan team. Particularly, I want to contribute my share and that our team makes history in the World Cup.”

Good luck to him. I hope to see him performing this passionately for Arsenal one day.