Takehiro Tomiyasu has admitted he ‘had to convince myself’ that the right-back could still perform for Japan after fearing his confidence had ‘become a problem’ at Arsenal.

The 24-year-old produced a heroic display when the Samurai Blue beat Germany 4-1 during September’s international break. Tomiyasu started under boss Hajime Moriyasu in what also proved to be Hansi Flick’s last game as Die Mannschaft coach after 25 fixtures in 24 months.

Tomiyasu had not represented his nation since their Round of 16 defeat on penalties against Croatia at the World Cup. He missed their following four fixtures whilst sidelined with a knee injury. The Fukuoka-born star had to undergo season-ending surgery for the injury in March.

Arsenal defender Takehiro Tomiyasu in action for Japan vs Germany
Photo by Marvin Ibo Guengoer – GES Sportfoto/Getty Images

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Surgery was the final blow in an already frustrating campaign for Tomiyasu at Arsenal. Coach Mikel Arteta had only utilised the full-back for 1,223 minutes over 31 appearances across all competitions last season. Tomiyasu further only started in 13 of his appearances in 2022/23.

Injuries have blighted what appeared to be a promising career at Emirates Stadium over the 34-cap international’s first few months in north London. Tomiyasu solved Arsenal’s issues at right-back after joining from Bologna in August 2021. But a raft of calf issues then took hold.

Arsenal losing Jurrien Timber to an ACL injury in their opening game of the 2023/24 Premier League season saw Arteta back Tomiyasu. He replaced the Dutch talent against Nottingham Forest and started at Crystal Palace. But Tomiyasu merited a harsh red card at Selhurst Park.

Tomiyasu now opens up on his lack of confidence

Arsenal defender Takehiro Tomiyasu in action for Japan vs Germany
Photo by ANP via Getty Images

Tomiyasu has now returned to a reserve role with Oleksandr Zinchenko returning to fitness at Arsenal. Yet it did not stop Tomiyasu from producing a heroic display in Japan’s win against Germany. Moriyasu also handed the defender a cameo in their win over Turkey on Tuesday.

But, despite impressing as Japan beat Germany, Tomiyasu admits he went to Hamburg short of confidence at Arsenal. He is also still unsure if it is possible to match his exploits that held Die Mannschaft back in north London. It is a ‘different story’ between his club and country.

“I had to convince myself, or rather, I needed to give myself confidence,” Tomiyasu admitted to Football Zone. “In that sense, I felt like I needed to regain my confidence. I wondered if it had become a problem. But, at Arsenal, it’s different.

Arsenal defender Takehiro Tomiyasu in action for Japan vs Turkey
Photo by Joris Verwijst/BSR Agency/Getty Images

“So, if you ask me if I can just do that at Arsenal, that’s a different story. At Arsenal, too, I need to do my best to secure a spot in the squad.”

He added: “My days at Arsenal are really demanding. So, if you ask me if I’m going to regain my confidence completely, I can’t say 100% yes. In that sense, I really feel like I’m doing well at Arsenal. I just need to be confident that I am there.”

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