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Japan coach promises new start

28 August 2014, 16:24

Tokyo - New Japan coach Javier Aguirre named seven uncapped players in a fresh-looking squad on Thursday for next month's friendlies against Uruguay and Venezuela, calling it a "brand new start" for the Blue Samurai.

The former Mexico and Espanyol coach, who replaced Alberto Zaccheroni in July, retained 11 players from Japan's World Cup squad which finished bottom of their group in Brazil, while leaving out injured Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa.

"I didn't choose this group after looking at squad lists from the past," Aguirre told reporters in Tokyo after naming the 23-member squad for the matches against Uruguay in Sapporo on Sept. 5 and Venezuela in Yokohama four days later.

"I decided on the squad after watching many games and videos and listening to the opinions of my coaching staff," the Kyodo news agency quoted him as saying.

"Of course I will continue to look at players. I didn't pick this squad based on who has played before," he said refusing to discuss players individually.

"This is a brand new start and if I talk about one player then I have to talk about all 23. Whether they are young, veterans, first-timers, have played before, play here or abroad - all the players will be starting from zero."

Also read: Brazil to clash with Japan in friendly

AC Milan midfielder Keisuke Honda and Mainz striker Shinji Okazaki retained their places but Gamba Osaka duo Yasuhito Endo and Yasuyuki Konno were not as fortunate.

"I don't want to talk about players I have not called up but I will make an exception because I planned to include him," the coach said of Kagawa, who the local media have linked with a move to Valencia.

"The English and Spanish leagues are a bit different but Kagawa is good enough to play for a big club in either of them," Aguirre said.

"I want a team that can keep possession more than their opponents, can attack but also maintain balance. We will start with training but it won't be easy. I want them to use space, keep hold of the ball and be an intelligent team," he added.

Also read: ‘Japan needs cool heads’


Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Standard Liege), Shusaku Nishikawa (Urawa Reds), Akihiro Hayashi (FC Tokyo).

Defenders: Hiroki Mizumoto (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan), Masato Morishige (FC Tokyo), Maya Yoshida (Southampton), Hiroki Sakai (Hannover), Tatsuya Sakai (Sagan Tosu), Gotoku Sakai (Stuttgart), Ken Matsubara (Albirex Niigata).

Midfielders: Makoto Hasebe (Eintracht Frankfurt), Hajime Hosogai (Hertha Berlin), Junya Tanaka (Sporting Lisbon), Ryota Morioka (Vissel Kobe), Takahiro Ogihara (Cerezo Osaka), Gaku Shibasaki (Kashima Antlers).

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- Reuters


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