TOKYO, May 24: Teenage sensation Takefusa Kubo won his first senior Japan call-up Friday when he was named in coach Hajime Moriyasu�s squad for next month�s Copa America in Brazil.
The FC Tokyo midfielder, who was invited to Barcelona�s youth academy as a pint-sized nine-year-old where he earned the nickname the �Japanese Messi�, is one of no fewer than 17 uncapped players as Japan look to build for next year�s Tokyo Olympics.
Kubo, 17, will also be available for Japan�s home warm-up games against Trinidad and Tobago on June 5 and El Salvador on June 9, Japanese officials said.
�Teams like the hosts Brazil will definitely be serious about winning,� Kubo told local media.
�But even though we are playing as guests we will have to match the desire of our opponents when we get on the pitch.�
Moriyasu left big-name players such as Keisuke Honda, Shinji Kagawa and Shinji Okazaki out of his Asian Cup squad earlier this year when the Blue Samurai were beaten 3-1 in the final by Qatar in Abu Dhabi.
�We are looking to bring in a new generation of players,� Moriyasu said on Friday. � AFP