Unai Emery now has a few months under his belt as manager of Villarreal. The club have instilled an exciting sporting project and invested wisely in the transfer market. Signings like Dani Parejo, Francis Coquelin, Pervis Estupinan, Juan Foyth, and the loan of Real Madrid’s very own Takefusa Kubo, has given Villarreal fans that great feeling of “ilusión” (hope, dreams). For Madrid fans, 19-year-old Takefusa Kubo’s development has been of the utmost importance after his break out season with Real Mallorca last year. With a plethora of clubs after his signature in the summer, Villarreal seemed like a good destination — at least on paper. Five games in and Kubo has been a substitute in every match with minutes hard to come by. Real Madrid are concerned and the uproar among fans and media is palpable.
In an interview with AS, Emery spoke on a wide range of subjects which included a specific question about Kubo and the tiresome media speculation around him.
“Kubo is a great kid, he’s a boy who wants to grow up and who really wants to do well,” Emery told AS’s Javier Mata. “ He is aware that he has a challenge, that of being the first Japanese player to reach the highest level, and there are many people who want that to be so and who want to speed up the processes. But that acceleration is not good, he must adapt and he must grow to compete in all positions.”
Emery went on to explain his point. Focusing on the fact that Kubo can play in three different roles. Of the three roles, Emery feels Kubo still needs to improve on the left wing and in central spots. His best spot, on the right, has stiff competition.
“He can play in three positions, in the position of the seven (RW), which is his best position, but there he has high competition. In the center he works to improve and on the left he must grow more, so we are in that process. I understand the media noise, he is a star off the field, but he must be a star inside the field as well. Our obligation is that you do it in the best possible way and take care of him, so that he can achieve that goal. I have not told any player that he is guaranteed to play, nor that we will be Champions with him, it is something that he would not do. To achieve a goal is something for everyone, for the whole team, not for a single player no matter how good he is,” Emery concluded.
Villarreal’s next match will be against neighbors Valencia on Sunday. More than likely Kubo will be sat on the bench to start the match, but hopefully the youngster can accrue more than 5 minutes to prove to Emery that his timeline actually does need accelerating.