Ange Postecoglou lauds the Celtic Japanese signing who's made the "biggest adjustments"
You wouldn’t have said, from the outside, that Celtic signing Reo Hatate needed much time to adjust to life at Parkhead.
His impact for Celtic was immediate. Excellent goals against Hearts and Rangers, along with exciting performances including the weekend’s win over Ross County, have endeared him to fans. Given his output already, it’s hard to picture Hatate having had any difficulties whatsoever.
Not necessarily the case, says Ange Postecoglou. Hatate, the most junior of the Japanese players to sign for Celtic this season, required some time to make significant lifestyle adjustments in January.
Ange explained in the most recent episode of the Celtic View that though Reo Hatate enjoys the spotlight, there have been challenges to overcome. He said [Celtic View, 18/3/22, p.13]: “[Reo’s] the youngest of the four, he’s the only one who’s not been abroad, so his challenges are a little bit different to the other guys.
“He’s the one who’s probably had to make the biggest adjustments coming over here in terms of lifestyle, different culture, a different kind of football and he’s having to work really hard.
“But he’s such a determined individual – you saw that in the derby game, the size of the game, the crowd and the occasion didn’t get to him. If anything, that’s where he wanted to be – the centre of attention.”
Ange Postecoglou has done an excellent job of helping Reo Hatate thrive at Celtic
What’s particularly interesting about guys like Reo Hatate, Yosuke Ideguchi and Daizen Maeda, is that they came to Celtic at the end of the J League season.
They all had an immense amount of minutes to their name in 2021. Most would’ve assumed they’d have needed respite. Time to recover from the travails of the J League campaign. That their start at Celtic might’ve been staggered somewhat.
Turns out, no; not so much. Reo Hatate absolutely shone at Tynecastle, scoring a fantastic goal. Maeda scored within 5 minutes of his debut. Yosuke Ideguchi needs more time, having been injured against Alloa. While he’s played for Celtic though, he’s looked good.
It’s genuinely remarkable. A lot of it’s down to excellent physical conditioning, but also the mentality and attitude each player had to their Celtic journey.
Reo Hatate may have needed time to adjust behind the scenes. On the pitch, though, far from it. He immediately came in to be an energetic, visionary and technically proficient option for Celtic’s midfield. Against Rangers in particular, he was unplayable.
Off the pitch conditions can make it difficult for players to settle. We saw that last season, during the heigh of the pandemic. It was grim, especially for players who’d came to Celtic from all over the place. That’s less of a factor now, but not being able to settle can be a problem for anyone.
Reo Hatate knows he’ll get all the help from the club that he needs. Goodness knows he’s helped the club out with his performances.