Japan dropped former Manchester United star Shinji Kagawa from the Blue Samurai’s bid to reclaim the Asian Cup, opting instead for a squad filled with young Europe-based talents.
Coach Hajime Moriyasu on Wednesday selected several players with only a handful of caps to their names for Asia’s showcase football tournament in the United Arab Emirates starting in January.
The likes of Ritsu Doan of Groningen, Shoya Nakajima of Portimonense and Takumi Minamino of Salzburg will lead Japan’s bid for a record-extending fifth title.
But there was no place for midfielder Kagawa, 29, now struggling for playing time at Borussia Dortmund.
Kagawa has long been among the leading stars of Blue Samurai and at his German outfit, but the attacking player has found himself unable to get regular first-team football under Dortmund coach Lucien Favre. Read more