Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni on Friday recalled CSKA Moscow midfielder Keisuke Honda and also picked Borussia Dortmund’s Shinji Kagawa in a 23-man squad for next week’s World Cup qualifying warmup against Azerbaijan in Shizuoka.
Zaccheroni also named Inter Milan defender Yuto Nagatomo and Bolton Wanderers striker Ryo Miyaichi among 10 European-based players for next Wednesday’s game, which serves as a tuneup ahead of three final-round World Cup qualifiers in June against Oman, Jordan and Australia in Asian zone Group B.
“This game will give me a good chance to look at the condition of the European-based players and new candidates that are in form in the J.League,” said Zaccheroni.
Honda, the driving force as the Blue Samurai reached the second round of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, has not played for Japan since last August, when he scored in a 3-0 defeat of South Korea in a friendly in Sapporo.
He suffered a right-knee injury in a Russian Premier League game against Spartak Moscow later that month and spent a lengthy spell on the sidelines after undergoing surgery in Spain.
“I haven’t seen him (Honda) play since August. He is still recovering so I want to have a good look at his condition in training,” said Zaccheroni. “If he appears OK, then, of course, I am going to give him a game.”
Ariajasuru Hasegawa was handed his first callup and was among four FC Tokyo players, including Japan Under-23 goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda. No players from Gamba Osaka, Cerezo Osaka, Nagoya Grampus or Sagan Tosu were picked as they are involved in J.League action next Friday.
“Hasegawa is doing really well in the J.League and has shown his quality in the middle of the park. I want to see in training if he deserves to play for the national team,” said Zaccheroni.
The Italian tactician has also recalled Novara striker Takayuki Morimoto as cover for injured Southampton striker Tadanari Lee.
“He (Morimoto) has been playing pretty well for his club, and with Lee injured and unable to play I have given him the call,” said Zaccheroni
Japan takes on Oman and Jordan at Saitama Stadium 2002 on June 3 and 8, respectively, before traveling to Brisbane to take on the Socceroos on June 12. Zaccheroni’s men have also been drawn against Iraq in the final round.
Goalkeepers — Eiji Kawashima (Lierse), Shusaku Nishikawa (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Shuichi Gonda (FC Tokyo)
Defenders — Yuichi Komano (Jubilo Iwata), Yuzo Kurihara (Yokohama F Marinos), Yuhei Tokunaga (FC Tokyo), Masahiko Inoha (Vissel Kobe), Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan), Tomoaki Makino (Urawa Reds), Atsuto Uchida (Schalke), Hiroki Sakai (Kashiwa Reysol)
Midfielders — Kengo Nakamura (Kawasaki Frontale), Makoto Hasebe (Wolfsburg), Hajime Hosogai (Augsburg), Keisuke Honda (CSKA Moscow), Hideto Takahashi (FC Tokyo), Ariajasuru Hasegawa (FC Tokyo)
Forwards — Ryoichi Maeda (Jubilo Iwata), Shinji Okazaki (Stuttgart), Takayuki Morimoto (Novara), Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund), Genki Haraguchi (Urawa Reds), Ryo Miyaichi (Bolton Wanderers)