Makoto Hasebe: slow starter whose diligence paid off with Japan captaincy

Makoto Hasebe’s rise to becoming a stalwart for Japan and in the Bundesliga owes much to the backing of his late grandfather

This article is part of the Guardian’s 2018 World Cup Experts’ Network, a cooperation between some of the best media organisations from the 32 countries who have qualified for Russia. is running previews from two countries each day in the run-up to the tournament kicking off on 14 June.

Related: Japan 2018 Fifa World Cup team guide: tactics, key players and expert predictions

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