Cy Goddard

  • CyGoddardCy Goddard bravely turned down England and represented Japan’s Under-16s after being called up in 2013 – despite not knowing the language
  • The Tottenham Hotspur attacking midfielder grew up in south London and now takes Japanese lessons twice a week after training sessions
  • The 17-year-old has been on Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund’s radar and hopes to represent Japan at a major tournament in the near future
  • Goddard reveals it’s not uncommon for youth players eligible to look elsewhere to snub England as the Three Lions aren’t particularly admired
  • Belgium’s Adnan Januzaj, Nigeria’s Victor Moses and Germany’s Lewis Holtby are among others that could have represented England

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  1. shinichi Post author

    Cy Goddard is a Tottenham youth product that has chosen to represent Japan over England… here, the London-born starlet explains why he prefers Samurai Blue

    by Kieran Gill


    For some, playing for England means everything. An honour, a duty, a reward, call it what you will.

    Cy Goddard, however, is a 17-year-old youth product of Tottenham Hotspur who disagrees, having pledged his allegiance to Japan after politely declining advances from England scouts.

    The half-Japanese, half-English attacking midfielder has grown up admiring the Samurai Blue way while learning his trade at Tottenham, a club that prides itself on nurturing players of flair.

    Citizenship in football often sparks debates – as it did with Belgium’s Adnan Januzaj – yet for Goddard, who takes Japanese lessons twice a week, it’s as simple a decision as they come.

    Talent: Cy Goddard, a 17-year-old youth product of Tottenham Hotspur, has chosen Japan over England

    ‘I have never really wanted to play for England,’ says Goddard, who grew up in south London. ‘Always my mindset was that I wanted to play for Japan. Since I was 10, it’s always been an ambition of mine.

    ‘If they keep progressing as quickly, then they will be better than England and a lot of nations in the future. I think a lot of the boys (in this country’s youth system) are also looking elsewhere rather than England.

    ‘A lot of people in the youth system are not really admiring the England team and the English way of playing football. For me, I have always pictured myself playing for Japan.’

    So much so that Goddard, when visiting his grandparents near Ohori Park in the Japanese city of Fukuoka, would buy a new Japan kit every year.

    Goddard’s father, Steve, is an artist from England but it is his mother, Sawako, who makes him eligible to play for Japan. Despite straying from his father’s profession, the attacking midfielder exhibits a similar creativity in his style of play, which has led to interest from Borussia Dortmund.

    In 2013 Goddard made his international debut for Japan’s Under-16s at the Montaigu Tournament in France after impressing scouts from the Japanese Football Association that were touring Europe for talent.

    They, like Tottenham, were intrigued by Goddard’s technical ability, and were in no way deterred by the pint-sized starlet’s frame.

    Goddard, yet to master the Japanese language, admits being lost in translation was a burden but he found a way around it. Again, creativity was shown.

    ‘I was nervous. You are thrown into a whole different situation that you haven’t experienced,’ Goddard tells Sportsmail.

    ‘I’m not the best at speaking Japanese, but I was able to settle in really well. They helped me with tactics, and other things you come to understand as you play.

    ‘You can also understand through hand signals. If I wanted them to pass, I would just say “Yeah” in English.’

    It isn’t anything new. Germany’s Miroslav Klose, the World Cup’s all-time top goalscorer, was born in Poland but the striker succumbed to his new land.

    In England there has been Nigeria’s Victor Moses, who previously represented the Young Lions across four youth levels, and the more recent case of Belgium’s Januzaj.

    For now Goddard is simply keen to concentrate on his Tottenham career, hoping a senior contract is in the pipeline, but then what for the tricky two-footed forward?

    ‘I would like to go out and play in Japan one day,’ continues Goddard. ‘When I went to Japan and saw the crowds, I was impressed.

    ‘They are just so passionate, similar to Italian fans. It is a great environment if you are playing in front of that crowd.

    ‘One of my ambitions is to represent Japan in a massive tournament, but I think that is a bit too far in the future to think about at the moment.’

    Until then, Goddard, who has drawn comparisons to Dortmund’s newest No 7 Shinji Kagawa, will continue to learn the language. The starlet remains eligible for England at senior level but hopes to one day be a part of the Japanese team he’s admired from afar for more than a decade.


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