Miyaichi called up for World Cup qualifier

by Gus Fielding

Kyodo

Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni is ready to give Bolton Wanderers’ on-loan teenage winger Ryo Miyaichi his first outing on the international stage after calling him up for Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier at home to Uzbekistan.

The 19-year-old Miyaichi, who scored in his first start for Bolton in their 2-0 F.A. Cup fifth-round win at Millwall last weekend, was among 10 European-based players Zaccheroni named Saturday to the squad for the dead rubber in third-round Group C at Toyota Stadium.

“Miyaichi has not been part of the Japan Under-23 team so he became an option. He has a lot of quality and is doing well at Bolton and that is why I have called him up,” Zaccheroni told a press conference.

Japan and Uzbekistan have both already secured their places in final round of qualifiers for Brazil 2014.

Zaccheroni has called up a number of promising youngsters for previous matches, including Bayern Munich’s Takashi Usami, but not given them any playing time.

But the Italian said Miyaichi would be an exception to the rule.

“When I called up Usami (last June) he wasn’t ready for full international level but he has a lot of quality and my opinion on him has not changed,” said Zaccheroni.

“I called him up, as I did with Gaku Shibasaki and Yuya Kubo (for Friday’s friendly against Iceland), to give him experience of being with the national team.

“But Miyaichi did very well last season when he was playing in the Netherlands (on loan at Feyenoord from Arsenal) and is showing what he can do at Bolton this season so he is a bit of a different case. He is a step ahead of the others. I have called him up so he has a chance of playing.”

Strikers Tadanari Lee of Southampton and Mike Havenaar of Vitesse Arnhem were also in the squad, but Ryoichi Maeda, who scored the opening goal in the 3-1 win over Iceland, was left out.