Leeds United loanee Yosuke Ideguchi's World Cup hopes are in serious doubt after missing out on selection in the latest Japanese squad.
The 21-year-old, who is currently on loan at Spanish side Cultural Leonesa, has been omitted from Vahid Halilhodzic's selection ahead of their upcoming friendlies against Mali and Ukraine later this month.
Ideguchi is a major absence alongside Arsenal's Takuma Asano, who is currently on loan at Stuttgart in Germany, and Japanese boss Halilhodzic has told them both to buck up their ideas at club level or risk missing this summer's World Cup.
“Some players are not getting game time at their clubs,” Halilhodzic told the Japan Times.
“Some are not even getting on the bench. It makes me sad that Asano and Ideguchi are not playing.
“They were the heroes of our qualifying game against Australia. But, unfortunately, they are now in a difficult situation. They haven’t been chosen this time, and if things continue the way they are, there is a chance that they won’t be chosen for the World Cup.”
Ideguchi made the switch to Leeds in January from J League side Gamba Osaka but the Elland Road club decided a loan to the Spanish second division would be more beneficial to his development and chances of earning a spot in the Japanese squad ahead of this summer's tournament.
Director of football Victor Orta admitted competition for places in the Leeds ranks played a huge role in the decision to ship him out on loan and didn't want to harm his chances of selection ahead of the World Cup.
Ideguchi, though, has been left out of Cultural's match day squad for the last two games and has only featured on a handful of occasions so far notching just 109 minutes of playing time since making the switch.
The youngster's World Cup dreams now appear to be in severe doubt ahead of the final squad announcement in May.