Usami heads Japan new boys
Alberto Zaccheroni has called up three new faces to the Japan squad for June's Kirin Cup alongside 11 Europe-based players.
Gamba Osaka forward Takashi Usami, Kashima Antlers defender Daigo Nishi and midfielder Kosei Shibasaki from Kawasaki Frontale have all been named for the first time in the 23-man party that will play games against both Peru and Czech Republic.
Inter Milan defender Yuto Nagatomo, Schalke defender Atsuto Uchida, Stuttgart forward Shinji Okazaki, CSKA Moscow midfielder Keisuke Honda and Wolfsburg midfielder Makoto Hasebe are also included.
Japan will face Peru on 1 June in Niigata before taking on the Czech Republic a week later in Yokohama. The duo will also meet in Nagano on 4 June.
"After we withdrew from the Copa America, we have three matches to assess our players before going in to the World Cup qualifiers in September and we have two out of the three in the Kirin Cup," said Zaccheroni, who guided Japan to Asian Cup glory this January in Doha.
"The results are important but more importantly, I want to see the development of our team and also get to know the players. It's a great opportunity to see some unfamiliar players in these occasions. I am hoping that the players who have been selected this time can show their growth and give me a hard time deciding my team for the games."
Asked about opponents Peru and Czech Republic, the Italian added: "They obviously have two different styles but they have one similarity, which is a fighting spirit. Peru always play as hard as they can and Czech Republic played very well against Spain recently. I hope we can learn something by playing two teams who have a different styles."
Goalkewepers: Eiji Kawashima (Lierse SK), Masaaki Higashiguchi (Albirex Niigata), Shusaku Nishikawa (Sanfrecce Hiroshima);
Defenders: Yasuyuki Konno (FC Tokyo), Yuzo Kurihara (Yokohama F. Marinos), Masahiko Inoha (Kashima Antlers), Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan), Tomoaki Kajino (Cologne), Michihiro Yasuda (Vitesse Arnhem), Atsuto Uchida (Schalke), Maya Yoshida (VVV-Venlo);
Midfielders: Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Makoto Hasebe (Wolfsburg), Kosei Shibasaki (Kawasaki Frontale), Ryota Moriwaki (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Hajime Hosogai (Augsburg), Akihiro Ienaga (Real Mallorca), Daigo Nishi (Kashima Antlers);
Forwards: Ryoichi Maeda (Jubilo Iwata), Tadanari Lee (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Kunimitsu Sekiguchi (Vegalta Sendai), Shinji Okazaki (Stuttgart), Keisuke Honda (CSKA Moscow), Shinzo Koroki (Kashima Antlers), Takashi Usami (Gamba Osaka).