Ange Postecoglou today set the record straight on Daizen Maeda and his Celtic start

By David Walton

March 1, 2022

Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou has moved to defend Daizen Maeda’s start to life at Parkhead as he lauded the impact of all of his new signings.

The Hoops brought 4 first-team players to the club in the January transfer window. The likes of Reo Hatate and Matt O’Riley have made an instant impact in the starting XI whilst Yosuke Ideguchi has struggled with early injury problems.

However, it’s been more of a struggle for Maeda. Despite featuring in 10 matches since arriving in January, the striker hasn’t been able to really get supporters excited with some anonymous performances.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

But Postecoglou wasn’t having any criticism of his January signing as he urged for patience given how early he is into his Parkhead career. Speaking via Celtic YouTube, Ange said: “Daizen’s important but again what we’ve tried to do is not rely on one person. That’s where, even for the players, that’s a trap you can fall into – thinking that it’s an individual that will get you what you want. It doesn’t work that way. At different parts of the year we’ve had different guys stepping up for us. I think that’s been the key to our success. We haven’t relied on one person. We can’t go into tomorrow night thinking that Daizen, Jota, or anyone else is going to be the difference.

“You go into that mode and you know you’re putting your whole position in jeopardy because you’re relying on something that can fluctuate because people are human beings. Daizen’s been with us for, what are we in March? 7 weeks. Reo Hatate has been with us for 7 weeks. Matt O’Riley has been with us for 7 weeks. Ideguchi’s been with us for 7 weeks. If people can show me a player who comes into a place for 7 weeks and becomes the difference or shows the best of himself? Well…

“The guys who have come in have done a fantastic job. If you look at our form post-Christmas, a big part of the reason we’ve been the in-form team is because the guys who have come in have contributed straight away. We’ve got to make sure we understand that they’re just beginning their careers and the best is ahead of them. From my perspective, I couldn’t be happier with the way all of them have settled in.”

Rangers collapse gets Celtic out of jail as another huge week gets underway

Rangers collapse gets Celtic out of jail as another huge week gets underway
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

Daizen Maeda needs time before he can truly be judged as a Celtic striker

It’s really difficult to form an accurate assessment of Maeda. The fact he’s only played 10 games doesn’t give us much to go on. It’s clear, even from those appearances so far, that the former Yokohama Marinos star is suffering from the expectation levels placed on his shoulders.

The impact of Kyogo Furuhashi in the first half of the campaign probably hasn’t helped either. There was an ignorant assumption that any signing Ange brought from the J-League would reach similar levels. It has to be appreciated just how incredible it is that Kyogo adapted to Scottish football so quickly.

Maeda has hardly been a disaster either. It’s not as if he’s gone 10 games without a goal. He’s netted on 4 occasions for the club despite regularly coming in from the left side. That’s nearly a goal in every 2 games. So he’s still been making some form of an impact.

Photo by Scott Baxter/Getty Images

There were also some promising signs at Easter Road on Sunday too. Maeda made a clever movement in behind the Hibs defence that got him through on Matt Macey. But for some good goalkeeping, that would’ve been a big moment for him.

Tomorrow, Maeda looks like getting another opportunity to shine against St Mirren. And whilst a goal or 2 against the Buddies would do wonders for his confidence, those patience levels need to remain the same. There was never any guarantee that he was going to make an impact as quickly as Kyogo.

Ange’s words are important here. Effectively, he’s urging us all to give Daizen some time. When you think of new this new pressure will be for him, you have to admit the manager is spot on.

In other news, Exciting Karamoko Dembele update as Ange confirms Celtic opportunity will come