Japan midfielder Yasuyuki Konno said he was initially nervous to be called up by the national team again, but is now just ready to do his job.
The Gamba Osaka veteran last featured for the Samurai Blue in March 2015 and has since been out of the fold, though he was included in Vahid Halilhodzic’s plans for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against UAE and Thailand.
Indeed, Konno could feature from the start in light of Makoto Hasebe’s injury, but the 34-year-old revealed he is not speculating on Halilhodzic’s line-up and is focused on getting used to the national environment again.
“I was very nervous [about the call-up],” he told reporters. “I was called up to this squad for a reason, and I want to be able to respond to that.
“No [I did not miss such nervousness], not really. It feels like the first time I was called up.”
Addressing whether he thought he would play, Konno added: “I don’t know if that’s true [Hasebe’s injury will lead to a starting spot].
“In any case I want to focus on adjusting to the squad and preparing physically and mentally to meet our coach’s demands.”
With the squad likely to call on his experience dealing with big stages such as World Cup qualification, Konno finished with his forecast of the match at Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium.
“We have a lot to keep in mind, like how the referees make their decisions and the unique atmosphere,” he concluded.
“Even when we aren’t in trouble, the home supporters get riled up and it’s hard to keep focus. The most important thing is that we stay calm on the pitch.”