TOKYO - Japan midfielder Junichi Inamoto has declared himself fit to face England on Sunday and is hoping his team-mates show a bit more fight to get their World Cup preparations back on track.
The 30-year-old missed Monday's 2-0 home loss to East Asian rivals South Korea because of a hamstring pull and watched the confidence-battering defeat from the sidelines.
"Physically, technically and mentally South Korea were at a high level and we lost out all over the pitch, so we need to try and be stronger mentally and show a bit more attitude," he told Kyodo news agency at the team's training camp in Switzerland.
The former Arsenal and Fulham midfielder, who will be playing in his third World Cup finals in South Africa, is particularly keen to play in Sunday's match in Austria after breaking his ankle in a previous friendly against England in 2004.
"I still have a little bit of stiffness but it's okay," he said of his hamstring injury. "I want to play against England.
"I have bad memories of the last time I played against England and this is a special match for me. This is another World Cup coming up for me and I need to keep up my confidence."
Inamoto was the golden boy of the Japan side that reached the last 16 as co-hosts in 2002 but on current form, the Blue Samurai will struggle to match that feat.
They begin their campaign against Cameroon on June 14th and also face Denmark and the Netherlands in Group E at the tournament.