"I had no idea"; Reo Hatate discusses hilarious exchange with Celtic's James Forrest

By David Walton

March 29, 2022

Celtic midfielder Reo Hatate has opened up on his hilarious exchange with James Forrest as he struggled to understand his Hoops teammate.

Hatate is one of several January arrivals from the J-League who have helped inject some freshness into the Hoops side in 2022. The newly-capped Japanese international won the hearts of the Celtic support after a stunning start to life at Parkhead with goals against Hearts and Rangers respectively.

However, it’s been a swift adaption into Scottish life after coming from a completely different culture and footballin environment.

Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

And it seems Reo still has some problems understanding the more homegrown members of the Celtic first-team squad. Speaking to the Celtic View [Volume 57, Issue 3, page 55], Hatate revealed a conversation he had with Forrest as he looked to find out the winger’s age:

“It’s hard to understand what they say a lot of the time. I was asking James how old he was recently and he said 30, but I had no idea. I didn’t know if he was saying 13 or what, I just couldn’t understand anything!

I’ve been trying to learn more English and I’ve been listening to my teammates but in my spare time, I’m watching a lot of English language programmes and guides online. So hopefully I can speak more.”

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Reo Hatate giving it his all to try and make an impression at Celtic

You have to love Hatate’s commitment to learning English. It should help him in the long run as he looks to integrate more with the squad and get to know them a bit better. Learning English will certainly go a long way for him when it comes to growing a more personal bond with the Celtic dressing room.

The conversation revealed here feels very reminiscent of that classic clip of Hatate and Forrest on the bench after the former had been subbed off against Hibernian. Forrest had to inform Reo that he had won the Man of the Man award after he seemed to miss out on the message which blasted over the tannoys.

It can’t be easy for footballers who don’t speak the native tongue of the country they play in. Not just on the football pitch either. It must take a toll on their personal lives too.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

That’s why it’s great to see that Reo spends so much of his time trying to learn the language. It’ll help him feel a lot closer to the squad. Not just that, it’ll make Scotland feel much more like home for him.

It was always going to be difficult for Hatate to get used to Scotland so quickly. But credit to him, even if he has been struggling with the language, it hasn’t really shown on the pitch. He’s still managed to make his mark here.

That certainly says a lot about the midfielder’s character.

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