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Leeds United's Yosuke Ideguchi handed World Cup lifeline

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Leeds United loanee Yosuke Ideguchi's hopes of being at this summer's World Cup in Russia have been handed a major boost after he was included in Japan's preliminary squad.

Ideguchi made the permanent switch to Leeds in January from J League's Gamba Osaka but the Whites shipped him out on loan to Spanish second division side Cultural Leonesa.

Yosuke Ideguchi.

Yosuke Ideguchi.

United decided it would be more beneficial for his development and chances of earning a spot at the World Cup ahead of the quadrennial tournament but the 21-year-old has found playing time hard to come by in Spain since making the move.

Ideguchi was omitted from the Japanese squad for their friendlies against Mali and Ukraine in March by former head coach Vahid Halilhodzic who cited his lack of minutes as a key factor in his decision.

The Japanese star has made just one start and four substitute appearances in his 111 minutes of action this year and hasn't featured for Leonesa in any capacity since February.

His hopes of appearing in Russia though have been handed a major boost after new boss Akira Nishino has reportedly included him in his preliminary 35-man squad despite minimal first-team minutes in recent months.

Japan will announce their final 23-man squad for the tournament in Russia on May 31.