Wataru Endo – The Bodyguard – World in Sport

Updated 17 Aug 2023 7:12 pm:

Japanese International midfielder, Wataru Endo, is set to complete a €19million move to Liverpool. It was reported on Wednesday, courtesy of The Athletic’s, David Ornstein, that the VfB Stuttgart’s captain had been granted permission to travel to Merseyside to discuss personal terms and undergo a medical. With a deal now close to completion, World In Sport takes a closer look at the soon-to-be Liverpool star.  

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Wataru was a product of the Shonan Bellmare academy for whom he progressed and amassed more than 100 appearances for the club  

The Midfielder had a growing reputation, and this was acknowledged when he secured a move to Urawa Red Diamonds in 2015, with whom he won the Asian Champions League, proving a regular and reliable member of the squad.  

A Move was only a matter of time, the blossoming Midfielder attracting interest from across Europe, and it was St Truidin of Belgium that secured his signature, where he totalled 29 appearances, scoring 2 goals. Germany was calling, interest was registered by way of VfB Stuttgart, a club with ambitions to return to the Bundesliga, who brought him in on a loan deal in 2019. VfB then elected to make his deal permanent when the rising star signed a 4-year deal.  

Endo has gone on to become a mainstay of the Bundesliga club’s midfield, becoming a driving force and a big part of how they have managed to maintain their Bundesliga status, including the decisive goal in a thriller against Koln during the dying embers of the game, last season.  

The Japan star has seemingly earned himself a big reputation in the Bundesliga as a defensive midfielder, with a wonderful ability to read the game. A man, described by many, as a “running machine” with his relentless work ethic both on and off the ball. Endo is a more-than-capable defender too, with his earlier career being primarily as a Centre Back.  

Measuring 5ft 10” he represents a good physical presence at the base of the midfield, possessing quick feet, a strong tackle and a good eye for a pass, Keep an eye open for the odd goal too.  

The 30-year-old has proven himself in one of the top Leagues in Europe and is about to achieve a dream by securing a move to the Premier League, he has impressed media and fellow professionals alike and claimed the adoration of the VfB faithful. Sven Mislintat, whilst speaking to Bundesliga.com said “As a player and as a person, he’s simply incredibly valuable,” he continued “He’s one of these anchors, a focal point in our system. Whether he plays as a centre-back or as a defensive midfielder, it’s good that he’s there and performs.”  

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“It’s important for me that our captain can take everyone with him, that he embodies the values we stand for and is an example to follow. “I have chosen Wataru Endo because he’s also someone who leaves room for other players to take responsibility.” The, then VfB Sporting director, also referring to him as the “Bodyguard” of the team.  

Stylistically, you can understand why Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp would have taken an interest, a man of high intensity, a leader of men, a no-frills footballer who knows his job.  

It will, no doubt, be a very welcome addition for Klopp, who has suffered the frustration of missing out on both Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia, whilst perhaps looking to strengthen further. Regardless, Liverpool have cover for that number 6 role, which will allow them to recruit for a longer-term solution without fear of being exposed in that area on matchday.  

With a medical being carried out today, both Liverpool and Endo will hope he is available for the Anfield outing against Bournemouth on Saturday.  

Jamie Brown  


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