Sunday, January 8, 2006
Nakata Pleased With FA Cup Debut
Bolton Wanderers had been expecting a tough 3rd Round test at Vicarage Road against 4th-placed Championship side Watford but ended up with a comfortable 3-0 victory.
"We knew it was going to be hard but we did the job," said Nakata. "We just started well and took it from there."
Bolton took control of their hosts in the 11th minute after Mexican marksman Jared Borgetti fired into the bottom corner after Watford had failed to clear a Ricardo Gardner cross.
After 34 minutes they turned the screw on the Hornets when Borgetti dummied for teammate Stelios Giannokopoulos to lash the ball into the roof of the net. Portuguese winger Ricardo Vaz Te added a third in the 73rd minute to send Bolton into the hat for the 4th Round and emphasize the ever-growing gulf in class between England's top two divisions.
"Yes we played really well today," confirmed Nakata, "and maybe the most important thing was that we did not give away any goals."
The Japanese legend arrived at the Reebok Stadium last August on a season-long loan from Fiorentina and so far has made twelve appearances for the Wanderers in all competitions, scoring once.
'Hide' has adapted well to his new surroundings despite the challenge of a new culture and language:
"Yes I like it here in England," he told Soccerphile. "There is an excellent atmosphere at the football matches here, and being at an English club is very different from one in Italy but I am happy."
Having spent so long abroad Nakata has not found adapting to a new country and langauge a problem although admits,
"My Italian is of course still better than my English having spent seven years over there!"
The elegant playmaker, who turns 29 later this month, is fulfilling a desire to play in the Premiership after an Italian sojourn that began when he left Bellmare Hiratsuka for Perugia in 1998 and took in Roma, Parma, Bologna and Fiorentina over succeeding seasons.
2006 will also see Nakata enter his third World Cup Finals in the blue of Nippon although he was quick to dismiss thoughts of Germany:
"I am not even thinking about the World Cup yet as we have so many games here at Bolton to deal with," he admitted. "Once we are done with the season here then I will think about it."
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