Japan call up Miyaichi for qualifiers
Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni on Thursday called up 12 Europe-based players including Arsenal teenager Ryo Miyaichi for a trio of vital World Cup qualifying matches in June.
Borussia Dortmund star Shinji Kagawa, now hunted by Manchester United, and CSKA Moscow midfielder Keisuke Honda are also in the 25-strong squad, many of whom played in the 2-0 friendly win over Azerbaijan at home on Wednesday.
The 19-year-old winger Miyaichi, who has just returned to Arsenal after a mixed loan spell with Bolton, made his international debut against Azerbaijan and impressed Zaccheroni with his running with the ball at pace.
"We are going to fight very tough battles ahead. I hope we will move in a positive direction," said the Italian, who has been criticised despite steering the Asian champions to the last round of World Cup qualifying.
"I have full confidence in this team."
Japan host Oman on June 3 and Jordan five days later before facing regional archrivals Australia away on June 12. The qualifying group also includes Iraq.
Zaccheroni, a former AC Milan coach who took over the Blue Samurai after their march to the last 16 at the 2010 World Cup, refused to predict results.
"What I have learned after 30 years in this profession is that it is important to take one match at a time," he said.
Kagawa and Stuttgart striker Shinji Okazaki scored against Azerbaijan to ease the pressure on their coach after Japan lost their final two matches in the previous qualifying round.
Injury-prone Honda, back for international duty after a nine-month break, played a part in both goals.
Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Lierse/BEL), Shusaku Nishikawa (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Shuichi Gonda (FC Tokyo)
Defenders: Yuichi Komano (Jubilo Iwata), Yasuyuki Konno (Gamba Osaka), Yuzo Kurihara (Yokohama Marinos), Masahiko Inoha (Vissel Kobe), Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan/ITA), Tomoaki Makino (Urawa Reds), Atsuto Uchida (Schalke/GER), Maya Yoshida (VVV Venlo/NED), Hiroki Sakai (Kashiwa Reysol)
Midfielders: Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Kengo Nakamura (Kawasaki Frontale), Makoto Hasebe (Wolfsburg/GER), Hajime Hosogai (Augsburg/GER), Keisuke Honda (CSKA Moscow/RUS), Hideto Takahashi (FC Tokyo)
Forwards: Ryoichi Maeda (Jubilo Iwata), Shinji Okazaki (Stuttgart/GER), Mike Havenaar (Vitesse Arnhem/NED), Takayuki Morimoto (Novara/ITA), Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund/GER), Hiroshi Kiyotake (Crezo Osaka), Ryo Miyaichi (Arsenal/ENG)
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