IT’S fair to say Ryo Miyaichi is looking forward to Saturday’s trip to Old Trafford more than most.
Not just because Manchester United are the most popular team in his native Japan.
Not just because he grew up idolising former United winger Cristiano Ronaldo.
And not just because he is standing by to make his first Premier League start for Wigan Athletic.
Miyaichi is close pals with United new-boy Shinji Kagawa, an off-season signing from Borussia Dortmund.
And if the pair both make it on to the field on Saturday, they’ll become the first Japanese players to play against each other in the Premier League.
Throw in the small matter of three valuable points up for grabs, and it’s understandable why Miyaichi is counting down the seconds to the weekend.
“I am very much looking forward to playing against Manchester United, especially so because they have my friend Kagawa in their team,” Miyaichi told the Observer.
“It would be great for Japan and for Japanese football if both me and Kagawa play in the game. It would be a special experience and I am really looking forward to it.
“Everyone watches the Premier League in Japan, and to have two Japanese players playing in the same game would be just incredible.
“It would make massive news back home, on TV and in the press.
“I don’t know who everyone would be supporting – I hope of course it would be Wigan.”