‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
Shinji Ono is expected to return to Holland at the end of August. The midfielder’s injury and subsequent surgery have kept him off the training pitch, but Erwin Koeman has reserved a central role for the midfielder in his plans. ‘Every coach can use a player of his qualities. He is important for Feyenoord. It’s a pity that I have had to do without him throughout preseason. I’m hoping to welcome him back as soon as possible.’
Shinji Ono broke his metatarsus while playing for his country and has been in Japan ever since for his rehab. ‘The break was in the fifth metatarsus,’ explains club doctor Robbart van Linschoten. ‘That is located on the outside and is extremely vulnerable. It also tends to heal very slowly. You’re three months down the line before you know it.’
Ono was given permission to go under the knife in his home country and to start rehab close to his family. The midfielder’s doctor is Sadao Niga, an old acquaintance of Feyenoord’s technical advisor Wim Jansen: ‘Niga is the doctor at Urawa Red Diamonds. I worked with him extensively there when I was at Urawa and Shinji is in good hands there.’
The Feyenoorder has already started running. ‘Shinji is healing well at the moment,’ says Van Linschoten. ‘When this stage of his rehab training is complete he can join group training again, although he will have to follow special preliminary training first.’
‘I have understood from the medical staff that it’s a difficult injury,’ says Erwin Koeman. ‘We now just hope that Shinji can get back to training and playing soon. Shinji has been very important for Feyenoord in the past and he will be again. I have a big need of a player of his calibre.’