Kaoru Mitoma 'wants people to know' the truth behind his university thesis
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Brighton forward Kaoru Mitoma wants to set the record straight when it comes to his much-talked about university thesis.
As a teenager, Mitoma turned down a contract offer from J1 League side Kawasaki Frontale after deeming himself 'not physically ready' for professional football.
Instead, the Japan international decided to study physical education at the University of Tsukuba, where he would go on to submit a graduation thesis on dribbling.
Mitoma's research involved fixing a GoPro camera to his head to record his movements so he could examine which dribbling techniques enabled him to get past opponents.
"I am conscious of shifting the opponent's center of gravity," he wrote. "If I can move the opponent's body, I win."
Since the story about his thesis emerged, many have somewhat exaggerated the tale. Mitoma, meanwhile, has recently made his feelings very clear on the subject.
After being asked about the university 'project' during an interview with ESPN UK, the 25-year-old said: "I can say the thesis has almost nothing to do with my current playing style.
"I chose the theme because it would be easy for me to write about. I simply needed to finish my degree. I think it's been focused on more in Japan and exaggerated so far.
"I want you to tell people that."
It sounds like Mitoma, who has been one the Premier League's standout performers this season, is tired of the subject cropping up in conversation.
Here's how social media reacted to his comments on the thesis.
One said: "I've been waiting for him to say this to the media for a long time. People chat too much about his thesis and he doesn't like it for sure."
A second wrote: "That's a very relatable purpose, I too did a thesis because it is easier to write and I'm familiar with it. People must know that doing a thesis, especially for a degree, the purpose is to help people to discover more about the subject they're searching, not to do anything revolutionary in particular."
A third commented: "He's very honest and people should get the hint. The purpose of his thesis was to do a competent and coherent piece of research for his degree, it wasn't done to discover something revolutionary and it hasn't particularly impacted his way of playing football."
A fourth added: "Bro just wrote something to just finish his degree and people keep talking about it."
After picking up some valuable experience in the university setting, Mitoma agreed to sign for Kawasaki Frontale.
He made his debut on the opening week of the 2020/21 campaign and quickly established himself in the Frontale first-team, becoming the first rookie to reach double digits in goals since Yoshinori Muto in 2014.
Mitoma, who would go on to score 30 goals in 64 games for soon-to-be J1 League champions, was wanted by a number of clubs in 2021, including Brighton, who eventually snapped him up on a four-year deal.
This season, the Japanese forward has scored 13 goals in 44 appearances for club and country.