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Riku Danzaki’s fitness levels criticised as Kettlewell sends pre-season warning



Motherwell’s January signing Riku Danzaki has been told he needs to improve his fitness to have a chance of breaking into the team after struggling to make an impact since joining the club.

The Japanese playmaker signed for Motherwell in January after his loan spell at Brisbane Roar was cancelled but he’s played just four times for the club since moving to Scotland. He was signed by Stevie Hammell and Stuart Kettlewell admits that the formation and style change hasn’t helped him but he’s not at the level that’s been needed when other players have been impressing.

Kettlewell did a brilliant job after replacing Hammell and takes his players back for pre-season today, but he had a warning for Danzuki ahead of his return. He was happy to admit that on a technical level Danzuki was good enough to play for the Fir Park side but he’s just not offered enough in training to earn a place in the team.

Danzuki has only played one minute of football since Kettlewell took over and when questions were asked why, he made it clear what his feelings were.

Speaking to Lanarkshire Live, Kettlewell said: “It has been really hard to get Riku onto the park, there have been a number of issues, in terms of his fitness. He was brought here for a reason, but prior to that when he was fit, it was difficult for him to get into the team as well.

“It’s hard when it’s that change of culture and country, I acknowledge all these factors, but these things are all taken into consideration when there are decisions made on who plays.

“I’ve been very loyal to guys who have been fit and able to play for us on a Saturday, and that’s what I believe in. Riku, technically, you can understand why he was brought to the club for a particular style of play – but that has substantially changed, in terms of formation.

“I see it a completely different way, so that would probably let you acknowledge why it would be difficult for him at times to get in.

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