Gelsenkirchen - Schalke's Japanese full-back Atsuto Uchida will not be taking part in the Asian Cup in Australia in January after he was given permission to remain with his club in preparation for the second half of the Bundesliga season.
'Focus on regaining energy'
His place in the Japanese squad for the tournament, which will take place from 9-31 January 2015, will instead be taken by Naomichi Ueda of Kashima Antlers.
The Japanese Football Association announced the decision on Sunday. Uchida has been beset by a long-standing knee injury this year and has not had the time to recover fully, having represented his country at the FIFA World Cup in the summer and started pre-season training with Schalke immediately afterwards.
The 26-year-old can now take that time and "prepare for the second half of the season and focus on regaining energy after what was, for him, a very strenuous 2014," read a statement on the Gelsenkirchen club's website. Uchida has started 13 of the Royal Blues' 17 Bundesliga games so far this season.