Daizen Maeda reveals behind-the-scenes Celtic influence; shares Hoops squad World Cup wish

By Dave Flanigan

November 20, 2022

Celtic forward Daizen Maeda has paid tribute to first-team coach Harry Kewell for helping him find form this season.

Though the Japan international is a favourite of manager Ange Postecoglou having now signed him twice, Maeda has struggled for goals at times so far this season.

After finding the net in a few crucial games before the World Cup break, including a winner against Motherwell at Fir Park, Maeda spoke in glowing terms about the Australia legend.

As reported by The Mail Online, he said: “Throughout my professional career and indeed my whole time in football, I have not met a coach like Harry. It’s down to Harry that I started to change my approach and perform better.’ 

“I had some difficult weeks and months but I had some very good support from our coaching staff, I have been working on it with them and I really appreciate what they are doing for me. Each of them has supported me, the manager, John Kennedy but especially Harry. 

“Harry is very good at establishing relationships with the players because he can verbalise clearly our good points and bad points. We’ll sit and watch the videos and he will explain to me very clearly where I can be better and what I need to do.”

Maeda also shared his feelings on the World Cup, as the sole Japanese representative in Celtic’s squad, but one of four Hoops stars overall set to play for their countries in Qatar.

He said: “I am just excited to be going to Qatar. I feel sorry for both Kyogo and Reo. It’s a shame they are not going to the World Cup but I will do my best on behalf of them in Qatar. 

“We are all in different groups, so I think we will be wanting each other to do well, hopefully, we can all qualify and we will get a chance to play against each other in the later rounds. 

“Once I finish international duty, my focus will return to Celtic and meeting the team’s targets in the second part of the season.”

Maeda’s Japan are in Group E, arguably the strongest World Cup group on paper, kicking off their campaign onn Wednesday against the 2014 winners Germany, before playing Costa Rica and Spain on the 27th of November and 1st of December respectively.

The winners of Japan’s group face the runners-up of Group F and vice-versa, with one of Belgium, Canada, Morocco and 2018 finalists Croatia awaiting Japan should they finish at least second.

Photo by Adam Pretty – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Harry Kewell looks to be another astute Celtic signing

Though he was hardly the focus of much of the fanfare from a summer window that saw the permanent arrivals of key first team stars for Celtic, Harry Kewell looks to have been another inspired appointment by Ange Postecoglou.

The manager has always been vocal about paying it forward to other Australian coaches, who are often short of opportunities in European football, but Kewell looks to be repaying the favour and then some, given the excellent reviews he’s received from player and manager alike.

Whilst there’s been plenty of attention paid to Postecoglou’s ability to source players, arguably not enough has been made about how much players improve playing under him, and with Kewell’s influence at play, this looks set to improve with time, too.

With another transfer window to come in January, it looks set to be another memorable season for everyone associated with Celtic.

In other news: Martin O’Neill backs Celtic man to star in Qatar; makes class title prediction