Eiji Kawashima in Dundee United squad for Dundee derby

Eiji Kawashima in action for Japan
Eiji Kawashima has 72 Japan caps

Japan international goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima will be in the Dundee United squad for Saturday's Premiership match against Dundee at Dens Park.

Tannadice manager Mixu Paatelainen confirmed on Thursday that the 32-year-old player had been granted international clearance to play.

Kawashima signed for the Terrors earlier in the week following a protracted wait during which he had to sit an English exam.

He has signed until the summer.

Paatelainen said: "It has taken a bit longer than any of us would have liked, but this is a fantastic coup for the club."

Kawashima's signing had initially been announced in November, but he had to go through a lengthy work permit application, which included taking an English exam in Japan.

Reports recently claimed that Dutch club Nijmegen could hijack the deal, but United have now signed the goalkeeper who has 72 caps for his country but was a free agent after leaving Belgian outfit Standard Liege in the summer.

"Eiji will strengthen the competition in the goalkeeper's position," Paatelainen told his club website. external-link

Dundee United manager Mixu Paatelainen
Mixu Paatelainen's side sit bottom of the Scottish Premiership

"He is a seasoned professional who has played at major tournaments and this experience will help our young goalkeepers also.

"He is a strong character who has shown great desire to play for Dundee United and I look forward to working with him."

Kawashima, who has appeared at the last two World Cup finals, played for Omiya Ardija, Nagoya Grampus Eight and Kawasaki Frontale in his homeland before joining Belgian club Lierse in 2010.

Now he will try to help United off the foot of the Scottish Premiership table.

"Finally I'm able to join to Dundee United," he said. "I'm delighted to join this club.

"I will try to do all my best with my fighting spirit and my ambition as a player.

"I hope that can bring something different to the squad and also I hope I can use my experience as well.

"I'm looking forward to wearing the Dundee United jersey on the pitch soon."