• Kyodo

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Japan midfielder Nozomi Hiroyama will be called up for upcoming African and European friendlies, officials of French first division club Montpellier said Tuesday.

It will be the first call-up in two years for the 26-year-old, the first Japanese player to ply his trade in French soccer’s top flight.

Hiroyama, who missed the last two games for his club with a knee injury, said, “I’m grateful for having been selected and will not miss this opportunity by strengthening my skills.”

Hiroyama, who played for J. League club JEF United Ichihara for five seasons from 1996, played for Paraguayan club Cerro Porteno and Portuguese club Braga before joining Montpellier in July on a one-year contract.

Japan is expected to play against Tunisia on Oct. 8 prior to facing Romania three days later in Bucharest during the tour.

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