Japan coach Javier Aguirre called up Dortmund midfielder Shinji Kagawa and Cordoba striker Mike Havenaar as the Mexican named a 23-man squad for upcoming Asian Cup warmups against Jamaica and Brazil.
Aguirre also selected three uncapped players — Gen Shoji, Tsukasa Shiotani and Yu Kobayashi — for the games against Jamaica in Niigata on Oct. 10 and Brazil in Singapore four days later.
“I can take a look at new players in these two games,” Aguirre told a press conference. “The door to the national team is always open.”
The 55-year-old coach had planned to call up Kagawa for his first two games — a 2-0 to defeat to Uruguay and a 2-2 draw against Venezuela in home friendlies last month — but he missed out after suffering a concussion when playing in a League Cup game for Manchester United.
“I would like to see him (Kagawa) in the center of a 4-3-3 formation. That is where he played in the beginning at Dortmund,” said Aguirre, who made eight changes to his last squad.
“If he is playing over the halfway line then he can operate in any position.”
AC Milan’s Keisuke Honda, in-form Mainz striker Shinji Okazaki and FC Tokyo forward Yoshinori Muto were among players that retained their place in the squad, but regular captain Makoto Hasebe and striker Yuya Osako were left out.
Japan has two more friendlies lined up before it launches its defense of the Asian Cup in Australia in January. Aguirre’s men face Honduras in Toyota on Nov. 14 and Australia in Osaka on Nov. 18.