Japan U-22 squad for Middle East tour

Gamba Osaka forward Takashi Usami and Cerezo Osaka defender Yusuke Maruhashi have been called up for the Japan Under-22 squad’s two-game tour of the Middle East early next month.
The young Samurai Blue will play Saudi Arabia on February 9 and Bahrain on February 12 as part of their preparations for Olympic qualifiers in June.
The 22-member squad announced on Friday features 11 players from the victorious Asian Games squad, including midfielders Kota Mizunuma and Hotaru Yamaguchi, and forward Kensuke Nagai.

“This tour will be a good opportunity for us to make a simulation of our upcoming Olympic qualifiers in June,” said Japan Under-22 coach Takashi Sekizuka.
Japan’s opponents for the home-and-away third round have yet to be determined.

Sekizuka continued: “We won the Asian Games with players who hadn’t played for their clubs in the J. League, and we can strengthen our team by adding individual abilities to that.
“I hope our players can develop their game and win a place on their (club) team in the J. League.”

Goalkeepers—Tatsuya Morita (Kyoto Sanga), Shunsuke Ando (Kawasaki Frontale)

Defenders—Yuki Saneto (Kochi University), Jun Sonoda (Kawasaki Frontale), Yusuke Higa (Ryutsu Keizai University), Daisuke Suzuki (Albirex Niigata), Shunki Takahashi (Urawa Reds), Mizuki Hamada (Urawa Reds), Yusuke Maruhashi (Cerezo Osaka), Takuya Okamoto (Urawa Reds)

Midfielders—Ryohei Yamazaki (Jubilo Iwata), Takuya Aoki (Omiya Ardija), Kosuke Yamamoto (Jubilo Iwata), Hiroshi Kiyotake (Cerezo Osaka), Kazuya Yamamura (Ryutsu Keizai University), Kota Mizunuma (Tochigi SC), Keigo Higashi (Oita Trinita), Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka), Takashi Usami (Gamba Osaka), Yuji Ono (Yokohama F. Marinos)

Forwards—Kensuke Nagai (Fukuoka University), Hiroshi Ibusuki (CE Sabadell)
Coach—Takashi Sekizuka (Japan)