Honda handed Japan recall for friendly

Head coach Albero Zaccheroni has recalled Keisuke Honda to a Japan squad which includes ten European-based players for next week's friendly against Azerbaijan.

Football News: Keisuke Honda

Honda's last appearance for Japan was during a 3-0 defeat of  Korea Republic in August, shortly after which the CSKA Moscow midfielder damaged his right knee while on duty for the Russian outfit and spent a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Other notable names given the nod by Zaccheroni for Wednesday's clash are Borussia Dortmund's Shinji Kagawa, who is being heavily linked with a move to Manchester United, Inter Milan defender Yuto Nagatomo, Arsenal 's Ryo Miyaichi and Novara striker Takayuki Morimoto who will deputise for injured Southampton forward Tadanari Lee.

The match with Azerbaijan is serving as a warm-up for the three World Cup qualifiers facing Japan in June, when the Blue Samurai will play the first of their Group B games against Oman, Jordan and Australia. 2007 AFC Asian Cup champions Iraq are the fourth team in Japan's group.

I haven't seen him (Honda) play since August. He is still recovering so I want to have a good look at his condition in training," Zaccheroni told reporters.

"If he appears OK, then, of course, I am going to give him a game. This game will give me a good chance to look at the condition of the European-based players and new candidates that are in form in the J.League," he added.

Among those J.League players, FC Tokyo's Ariajasuru Hasegawa earned his first call-up, as did Japan Under-23 goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda.

Japan Squad for friendly vs. Azerbaijan:

Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Lierse), Shusaku Nishikawa (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Shuichi Gonda (FC Tokyo)

Defenders: Yuichi Komano (Jubilo Iwata), Yuzo Kurihara (Yokohama F Marinos), Yuhei Tokunaga (FC Tokyo), Masahiko Inoha (Vissel Kobe), Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan), Tomoaki Makino (Urawa Reds), Atsuto Uchida (Schalke), Hiroki Sakai (Kashiwa Reysol)

Midfielders: Kengo Nakamura (Kawasaki Frontale), Makoto Hasebe (Wolfsburg), Hajime Hosogai (Augsburg), Keisuke Honda (CSKA Moscow), Hideto Takahashi (FC Tokyo), Ariajasuru Hasegawa (FC Tokyo)

Forwards:Ryoichi Maeda (Jubilo Iwata), Shinji Okazaki (Stuttgart), Takayuki Morimoto (Novara), Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund), Genki Haraguchi (Urawa Reds), Ryo Miyaichi (Arsenal)

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