Ange Postecoglou shares "elite level" physical attribute Celtic forward has

By Euan Davidson

March 11, 2022

Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou has lauded Daizen Maeda’s incredible sprinting ability, saying we’re still to see the best from him in a Hoops jersey.

Maeda made a blistering start to his Celtic career, scoring within 5 minutes of his debut. Immediately, it was apparent that his much-lauded sprinting was the real deal, and his ability to close down defenders will be another weapon in the Celtic arsenal.

Postecoglou detailed what he loves about his Celtic signing, and the history he has with Daizen Maeda.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

He said [Open Goal]: “The key with Daizen, and it’s a beauty – I know him because I coached him, I knew what he’d bring – it’s not even the distance. The key to him is the ability to repeat a sprint, is just… it’s elite level.

“I measured it against – even when I was in Japan – his ability to close down. The hardest thing, as you guys know, when you do a sprint, you need time to recover to go again. So it’s not just about just running, you can run all day. But him, he can sprint, recover super fast and go again.

“If you watch the ball he plays through to Tommy Rogic against Livingston on the weekend, he closes down two players within a millisecond. I think they were surprised that it was the same person closing him down. He’s absolutely elite level.

“We’re still to see the best of him, he’s still adjusting a little bit. But in terms of his physical capacity, it’s elite level.”

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Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou knows that peak Daizen Maeda will be unplayable for Scottish defences

It’s still so exciting to have a player like Daizen Maeda in the ranks at Celtic.

Has he missed some big chances? Yes. Has he performed to near his peak yet? No. But what he has done is really solidly contributed to several Celtic wins already, in his short time at the club.

Against Livingston, we saw him do both the aforementioned dirty work – closing down, defending from the front – and taking and creating opportunities. Against teams that sit deep, having players like Maeda is probably more beneficial to having a battering ram, physical presence up front.

Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

Height and strength, defenders are used to dealing with. Unrelenting stamina and speed? Not quiet so much.

Daizen Maeda, I’ve no doubt, will be an excellent signing for Celtic. He did enough damage in the J League, breaking several sprinting records and nabbing goal-scoring awards, to suggest all he needs is a little more time to adjust.

It’s going to be a lot of fun, that’s for sure.

Read more: “He’s got to live with that”; Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou responds to infamous Alan Brazil clip