Schalke new boy Atsuto Uchida was unveiled to the media on Tuesday lunchtime. After training with his new team-mates for the first time, the 22-year-old Japan international talked to schalke04.com about being reduced to the role of spectator at the World Cup, his short holiday and why he wants to be rid of his interpreter.
Atsuto Uchida, welcome to Schalke! You gained a taste of the atmosphere at the VELTINS Arena when you visited the stadium in winter. Was it a reason for your move?
Back then it wasn't at all clear whether I would join Schalke. But I knew that if I had the chance to play in such an atmosphere, I would love to make the switch. I could have gone to other clubs in Europe, but when Felix Magath asked me, I only had one answer – hai, i.e. yes!
How was your first training session with the Royal Blues?
I will need to ease myself into things first and I hope that by training even more I can introduce my own style and show the quality I have.
What differences are there between training in Germany and training in Japan?
In Japan we had lots and lots of matches and no training camps as such. In Germany the physical side of things is more important. For me that means I need to improve my physique in order to make the breakthrough over here.
Ahead of the World Cup in South Africa you were a regular fixture in the Japan team, but once there you sat on the bench throughout. Do you have an explanation for this?
Our system was a bit more defensive. But I think it was down to not playing well enough. I will now try to learn from this setback to become an even better player.
Instead of taking the three-week holiday you were granted after the tournament, you're already here at Schalke…
I don't need that much holiday. I felt it was better to acclimatise and establish myself as quickly as possible.
How is your German?
I learnt a few words while I was still in Japan. My aim is to get rid of my interpreter as soon as possible - which is nothing personal. But I also want to think like a German. I hope to gain something as a person while I'm here.
Your compatriot Shinji Kagawa has signed for Borussia Dortmund. Do you already know about the special relationship between Schalke and Dortmund?
I'm aware of this relationship, yes. Kagawa, like Hasebe, will be a rival for me in the Bundesliga. My main aim is to show that Japanese players are capable of holding their own here.
Kagawa in Dortmund, Uchida in Schalke and Hasebe in Wolfsburg? Now I want to follow Bundesliga.