Stabaek in Norway and their East Asian connection via Eaton

The Eliteserien League the top tier of football in Norway is set to begin on Tuesday. While there is one club  Stabæk in this league that will be of particular interest to fans in East Asia as they have Will Donkin of Taiwan and Kosuke Kinoshita of Japan in their squad. 

Will Donkin looking to start a career 

Norwegian football might not be the most talked-about league in the world but it is where Manchester United's Ole Gunnar Solskjær made his name both as a player and a manager before a move to the Manchester club. 

The north of Europe might not be where you would expect to find an Eton educated, Oxford-born 19-year-old but that is exactly where Will Donkin the 18 times capped Taiwan star is looking to make his name in football. 

The Taiwan player said in an interview with The Taiwan Times on his time so far with the club he signed for in September 2019;

As I came towards the end of my second year at Palace I felt as though there wasn’t much of a clear pathway to the first team at the time and I knew I wanted to start getting first-team football experience at 18 and that I was ready to make that next step.

There were offers from various other premier league U23s in England as well but I really wanted to go somewhere to play first-team football and be in that environment.

Stabæk who play in the top division in Norway was very interested, and I thought it was the right move at the time to have a good platform to show what I could do in the top league in a country in Europe.

The club also has a philosophy around giving young players opportunities to show themselves, so I felt it was a great fit.

The player has yet to play a first-team game but with the new season around the corner that wait could soon be over. His side have had a good pre-season too as they have lost just the once to Strømsgodset as Will Donkin has regularly come off the bench in these games. 

It is expected he will be on the bench if he is in the matchday squad when his side starts their league campaign against Mjøndalen but whether or not he plays or not it is clear that his senior debut is just around the corner. 

As Will Donkin said himself this is a side that will give youth a chance, this was seen when they signed Venezuelan Ronald Hernández in 2017 and after over 50 matches with the club, the 22-year-old moved in January to Aberdeen in Scotland. 

The man from Japan at the front 

The other player from East Asia within the set up at Stabæk is the Japanese forward Kosuke Kinoshita who unlike Will may not be well known to fans in his home country. This is seen as the 25-year-old that started his youth career with Yokohama FC has played his full senior career in Europe. 

This is a career that has seen him play in Germany, Sweden and now in Norway with SC Freiburg II, FC 08 Homburg, Halmstads BK, Sint-Truiden and Stabæk. The move to Norway came last July after he impressed in Belgium with Sint-Truiden scoring twice. 

He is an attacking player who stands at 190cm and plays on the wings or as a striker.  He is clearly admired by his coach Jan Jönsson who had him previously in Sweden with Halmstads BK. The Swedish coach might be known to fans of the J League too as he managed Shimizu S-Pulse and Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

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