Tsuneyasu Miyamoto's career has been marked by a series oe one unsure about his consistency. Not a particularly large or powerful defender to begin with, Miyamoto depends on good reflexes, cretitable technique and ball control skills, as well as excellent ability to distribute the ball from the back line to teammates downfield. Unfurtunately, he is also prone to slumps, when his reflexes and ball control seem to desert him, and has been harshly criticised for handling errors in the back line that cost his team victories (perhaps the deepest slump of all came in early 1993, when he scored three own-goals in a series of just a few months).
Each time it looks like he is on his way into obscurity, however, Miyamoto seems to fight his way back with a combative attitude and a hard-working dedication that has served him well both for Gamba Osaka and for the national team, over the years. The highlight of his career was no doubt his performance at the 2002 World Cup, where he wore the captain's armband and gained wide noteriety for the protective "Batman" mask he wore to protect a broken nose, as well as for his aggressive play at the center of the Japanese defence. Following this performance, Miyamoto was briefly the target of trade rumours involving several European clubs, including West Ham United. However, nothing came of this, and as we have already mentioned, he fell into a slump shortly thereafter which saw him drop out of the NT lineup.
But as he has done before, Miyamoto battled back, and won back his starting spot for Zico Japan, reclaimingthe captain's armband at the end of 2003. Hopefully this is the start of another spell of solid performances for Miyamoto. Gamba Osaka fans, as well as NT followers, will be hoping that he can develop a bit more consistency in his performances, in the buildup to WC2006.