Japan recall Celtic ace Furuhashi for friendlies

football25 May 2023 08:16| © AFP
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Kyogo Furuhashi © Getty Images

Scottish Premiership player of the season Kyogo Furuhashi earned a Japan recall Thursday after nine months in the international wilderness saw him miss the World Cup.

Furuhashi has scored 25 goals in 35 games this season as Celtic comfortably retained their league title, currently sitting seven points clear of Rangers with one game to play.

Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu called up the 28-year-old forward for friendlies against El Salvador and Peru, along with Celtic teammates Reo Hatate and Daizen Maeda.

"I called him up because he's getting results and making his presence felt," Moriyasu said of Furuhashi, who last played for Japan in September last year.

"I expect him to score goals. I expect him to go for goal and I expect him to create chances."

Hatate was also passed over for Japan's World Cup squad and is in line to win only his second cap if he appears in the June friendlies.

Moriyasu named only six defenders in an attack-heavy squad that also features Brighton winger Kaoru Mitoma and Real Sociedad forward Takefusa Kubo.

"There are perhaps fewer specialist defenders but I think it's enough for what I want to try out in these two games," said Moriyasu, who called up three uncapped players.

"There aren't really any players who can only play one position."

Japan drew with Uruguay and lost to Colombia in two home friendlies in March, following their last-16 exit to Croatia at the World Cup in Qatar.