Celtic's Reo Hatate addresses his Japan situation after being benched last week

By David Walton

March 27, 2022

Celtic midfielder Reo Hatate has stated that he’s “really happy” with his role in the Japanese national team despite being benched last week.

Hatate wasn’t given a single minute of action in Japan’s 2-0 win over Australia that booked them their spot at the World Cup at the end of the year. He’s yet to make a senior appearance for the Japanese national team either despite the fine couple of years he’s had back in his homeland.

Hatate looks to be rediscovering his form once more after shining for the Hoops in last weekend’s 4-0 mauling of Ross County. But it looks as though he’s going to have to wait for his opportunity to do the same foe the Blue Samarai.

Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

But even so, he’s delighted just to be involved as he talked up the positions he’s comfortable in. As quoted by Japanese outlet Ultra-Soccer, Hatate said: “I am happy to be able to train with so many high-level players. I think I am able to show myself. I think it is meaningless if I don’t show what I do on a daily basis on the field, so I am enjoying myself without being afraid of making mistakes.

“I’m playing in midfield for my team now, so I want to play there [for Japan], but I also have experience playing left-back and on the wing. So if I can play there, I would like to. However, I am grateful to be able to play in the position I play in my own team, so I hope to play in midfield.

“I am not focused on the position, but on my game. I have a lot of experience in this area.”

The clear message coming out of the Celtic camp is one we can all get behind | 67HH LIVE

The clear message coming out of the Celtic camp is one we can all get behind | 67HH LIVE
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

Reo Hatate focusing on improving his game as he awaits Japan opportunity

Tuesday night could very well be the night Hatate makes his senior debut for the Japanese national team. The reason? Quite simple. With Japan already having qualified for the World Cup, it makes Tuesday night’s game against Vietnam more or less a dead rubber.

Granted, they’ll be looking to hold on to top spot in their qualifying group by staying ahead of Saudi Arabia. But that’s a pride thing more than anything. It doesn’t mean much in the long-term, and the clash against Vietnam on Tuesday night gives manager Hajime Moriyasu an opportunity to tinker.

Of course, you could be forgiven for wanting Hatate to sit that one out as well. With Ibrox coming up in 7 days, we could do with as many players being rested as possible. But it would be a big thing for him to be given his international debut.

Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

With a World Cup coming up at the end of the year, there’s plenty for Hatate to be excited and motivated for. It should hopefully lead to a major rise in his performances at club level.

In the meantime, hopefully he plays and impresses on Tuesday night. Even if he’s almost a cert to start at Ibrox next week, it would be brilliant to see him get his international debut. He’s had to work hard for it.

Just fingers crossed there are no injury concerns in the coming days!

In other news, £5m Thomas Henry must be regretting 2021 Celtic rejection amid relegation threat