Celtic stars Kyogo Furuhashi and Reo Hatate have been left out of the latest Japan squad with their international manager suggesting the standard of Scottish football may have been a factor in their omission.
Japan head coach Hajime Moriyasu has named his squad for friendlies against Colombia and Uruguay later this month, making extensive changes from the group that he took to the Qatar World Cup.
Daizen Maeda has kept his place but his Celtic team-mates Furuhashi and Hatate have missed out, despite their impressive domestic form as their team has delivered the League Cup, reached the Scottish Cup semi-finals and is closing in on the Premiership title.
Japan Times journalist Dan Orlowitz has quoted Moriyasu discussing the two players and suggesting that the quality of the SPFL Premiership is one of the things he considered.
“I’ve watched all of Celtic’s games and seen what they’ve accomplished and their presence in the team,” Moriyasu said.
“But there’s no bar to clear to be called up, it’s a comprehensive decision. We think about the level of the league and various other factors when making the decision.”
Though putting together a group for two friendly internationals and calling up ten players who weren’t in Qatar, Moriyasu said he didn’t need persuaded that Hatate or Furuhashi could cut it at international level.
“For this squad we focused on the squad from Qatar as well as some new players,” he said. “There will be other call-ups.
“As I said, we’re trying to build the strongest team possible ahead of 2026. In order to do that we’re taking a wide view of how to build the team.
“As I think we all agree, (Hatate and Furuhashi) would absolutely be able to contribute to the team, but this time I wanted to try out some different players and that’s why they weren’t selected.”
Furuhashi has earned 16 caps since making his international debut in 2019 but despite being a prolific scorer for Celtic he missed out on the World Cup with Moriyasu suggesting his style didn’t fit with the team.
Hatate played over 30 times for Japan’s Under-23 team and made his senior team debut against Vietnam last year.