The Arsenal striker was widely expected to be a part of Takashi Sekizuka's roster after making his international debut, but instead was a surprising omissionRyo Miyaichi was among several unexpected omissions on Monday as the Japan Football Association announced their selections for the 2012 London Olympics.
In addition to the Arsenal starlet, Utrecht attacker Yoshiaki Takagi and Kashima Antlers forward Yuya Osako were also left off of coach Takashi Sekizuka's squad.
"We looked at their performances and their positions, and we discussed a lot of things in coming up with our list of 18 players," Sekizuka told reporters when asked about Miyaichi.
With none of the J-League's current top five teams represented, Japan's roster for London is comprised of mostly mid-table players as well as five players based in Europe. Hiroki Sakai and Hiroshi Kiyotake made the cut two days after playing their final matches before moving to the Bundesliga, as did Stuttgart defender Gotoku Sakai and Hoffenheim attacker Takashi Usami.
The most unexpected name on the list may have well been striker Kenyu Sugimoto, who plays for J-League Division 2 leaders Tokyo Verdy. JEF Chiba defender Kazuki Oiwa also made the list as a back-up.
The JFA's controversial over-age selections were again at the forefront, with defenders Maya Yoshida and Yuhei Tokunaga selected while goalkeeper Akihiro Hayashi will travel to London as a back-up player. Tokunaga's FC Tokyo will send three players, the most of any J-League team.
Japan's Olympic selection will play New Zealand in a July 11 friendly before departing for London, where they will play Spain, Honduras, and Morocco in Group D.
Japan's selection for the 2012 London Olympics (Back-up players in italics):
|Shuichi Gonda||FC Tokyo|
|Shunsuke Ando||Kawasaki Frontale|
|Akihiro Hayashi||Shimizu S-Pulse|
|Yuhei Tokunaga||FC Tokyo|
|Maya Yoshida||VVV Venlo|
|Kazuya Yamamura||Kashima Antlers|
|Daisuke Suzuki||Albirex Niigata|
|Kazuki Oiwa||JEF Chiba United|
|Taisuke Muramatsu||Shimizu S-Pulse|
|Keigo Higashi||Omiya Ardija|
|Hotaru Yamaguchi||Cerezo Osaka|
|Takahiro Ogihara||Cerezo Osaka|
|Takuji Yonemoto||FC Tokyo|
|Kensuke Nagai||Nagoya Grampus|
|Yuki Otsu||Borussia MG|
|Manabu Saito||Yokohama F. Marinos|
|Kenyu Sugimoto||Tokyo Verdy|
|Ryohei Yamazaki||Jubilo Iwata|