Nineteen-year-old Cerezo Osaka wunderkind Takumi Minamino was one of Japan’s seven World Cup reserves named by the Japan Football Association on Tuesday.
Minamino, one of the top prospects in Japan who was tipped to make Alberto Zaccheroni’s 23 for Brazil, was joined by Sagan Tosu target man Yohei Toyoda, Hertha Berlin’s Hajime Hosogai, and the Sanfrecce Hiroshima pair of Hiroki Mizumoto and Takuto Hayashi.
Rounding out the list were two from the 2010 World Cup team, Kengo Nakamura of Kawasaki Frontale and Yuichi Komano of Jubilo Iwata.
“This is the list we will be submitting to FIFA later today,” JFA technical director Hiromi Hara said, referring to the Tuesday deadline set by soccer’s world governing body to pick the provisional list of 30.
“The manager feels these seven will step up to the task, if and when we need to rely on them. They can come in and fit in seamlessly.”
Minamino said he would be ready when called upon.
“It’s an honor to be selected. I’m thrilled about it,” Minamino said. “The best thing is nobody gets hurt but if somebody does, I will be prepared to help out the team.”
Zaccheroni’s side begins training on Wednesday in Kagoshima Prefecture.
FIFA rules will prohibit the seven from playing for their clubs from May 19-25. In the event of an injury until June 2, when FIFA requires all teams to turn in their final 23, Zaccheroni must select his replacement from these seven.
After June 2, Zaccheroni will be allowed to field injury replacements from outside the seven.
For the weeklong camp in the United States, the JFA will be taking along two teenagers as training partners — Oita Trinita’s Daisuke Sakai and Nagoya Grampus’ Koki Sugimori, who both featured in the 2013 Under-17 World Cup where Japan took the competition by storm.
“The two played at the U-17 World Cup last year, and already train with the top team at their clubs so they’re used to working with older players,” Hara said.