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Friday, 15th June 2012
In Japan Sports News, Sports,

Japan star Shinji Kagawa to sit out London Olympics

Shinji Kagawa is set to miss out on a spot in the Japanese Olympics football squad so that he can get some much-needed rest over the summer.

Despite being over the age limit, all teams are permitted to include three over-age players and it was thought that the 23-year-old star would therefore be included.

However, after careful consideration, the Japanese Football Association has decided to leave him at home to rest ahead of what will almost certainly be a debut season in the Premier League.

Manchester United have agreed a fee with his current side Borussia Dortmund and are just waiting on a work permit being granted before completing the deal.

The Red Devils are expected to pay Dortmund an initial fee of £12 million to sign Kagawa, which could rise to £17 million depending on performance and appearances.

Speaking to United's official website, Hiromi Hara, the Japanese FA's technical director, said that although Kagawa is one of the senior team's most important players it was decided that leaving him out of the Olympics squad was in the long-term interests of the national side and the player himself.

"We came to the conclusion that not giving him enough rest is not good for his future nor our final World Cup qualifiers," he said. "I talked to Kagawa directly and told him he would not be chosen."

Mr Hara added that leaving Kagawa out of the national side for the London 2012 games will provide the opportunity for young players on the fringes to gain experience and hopefully take the opportunity to shine.

Kagawa's omission means that his summer holiday officially started on Tuesday after Japan - known as the Blue Samurai by supporters - drew with Australia in a world cup qualification match.

Following the result, Japan are now the bookmakers' favourites to qualify from their group.

Written by Mark Smith