Kanazaki recalled to Japan after five year absence

Japan head coach Vahid Halilhodzic has included Kashima Antlers striker Mu Kanazaki in his 23-man squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Singapore and Cambodia.

Kanazaki has not been involved in the international set up since 2010, and Halilhodzic has praised the forward's determination to get back into the squad.

However, the Bosnian says he will continue to monitor Kanazaki to see if he is good enough to become a regular for the national squad.

"I want to take a direct look at Kanazaki in training. He has done a really good job these past few months, not just in the middle, but all over the pitch," Halilhodzic told Japantimes.co.jp.

"He is not the biggest of players but he can protect the ball, he uses his speed, he can fight for the ball and is good in the air. He scored in the (Nabisco Cup) final but it is not like I just discovered him yesterday. I have wanted to take a look at as many players as I can in my first year (as coach)."

The Squad:

Goalkeepers — Masaaki Higashiguchi (Gamba Osaka), Shusaku Nishikawa (Urawa Reds), Akihiro Hayashi (Sagan Tosu)

Defenders — Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan), Tomoaki Makino (Urawa Reds), Masato Morishige (FC Tokyo), Maya Yoshida (Southampton), Hiroki Fujiharu (Gamba Osaka), Yuichi Maruyama (FC Tokyo), Hiroki Sakai (Hannover)

Midfielders — Makoto Hasebe (Eintracht Frankfurt), Yosuke Kashiwagi (Urawa Reds), Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund), Hiroshi Kiyotake (Hannover), Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka), Wataru Endo (Shonan Bellmare)

Forwards — Shinji Okazaki (Leicester City), Keisuke Honda (AC Milan), Mu Kanazaki (Kashima Antlers), Genki Haraguchi (Hertha Berlin), Takashi Usami (Gamba Osaka), Yoshinori Muto (Mainz), Takumi Minamino (Salzburg)

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