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Manchester United's Alexis Sanchez left out of Chile squad to focus on fitness

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Chile have left Alexis Sanchez out of the national squad for upcoming friendlies against Japan and South Korea following a request to do so by Manchester United.

His country's all-time leading goalscorer with 39 goals and its most capped player, Sanchez is not on coach Reinaldo Rueda's 24-man list of players to travel to the Far East to face Japan on Sept. 7 in Sapporo and South Korea in Suwon four days later.

"Alexis Sanchez's absence is due to the fact that his club needs him at this complex time, more so considering a muscular lesion," Rueda said in a news conference. "It's similar to that of [Benfica striker Nicolas] Castillo. We don't want them to take a step back in their recovery and a trip to Asia is also wearing."

Sanchez, whose country did not qualify for the World Cup this summer, has struggled with fitness.

The 29-year-old missed United's surprise 3-2 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion with a "little problem" before coming off the bench in last week's 3-0 loss to Tottenham.

"It's a recommendation from Manchester United's medical staff," Rueda said. "Alexis is recovering but with all that this trip entails, the suggestion was that he should not participate in these friendlies. Respecting that and what Alexis feels, we did not take him into account for this call-up."

Arturo Vidal, who joined Barcelona from Bayern Munich in a reported €20 million transfer last month, is on the list.

With Chile captain Claudio Bravo out of action because of the ruptured Achilles he suffered while training with Manchester City earlier this month, Rueda has given Swindon Town goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux his first call-up.

"He is a 24-year-old youngster of great projection," Rueda said of Vigouroux. "I want to see him up close to evaluate him."