"I'm absolutely determined"; Yosuke Ideguchi ready to seriously step things up at Celtic

By David Walton

June 26, 2022

Celtic midfielder Yosuke Ideguchi has stated that he’s “really determined” to step things up at Parkhead next season under Ange Postecoglou.

Ideguchi arrived in January along with fellow J-League stars Reo Hatate and Daizen Maeda. However, an injury in just his second game rocked his momentum before he found it a real struggle to break into a quality-packed Celtic midfield in the final months of the season.

There has been glimmers of hope surrounding the former Gamba Osaka star however. Ideguchi made a short cameo appearance on trophy day against Motherwell, and it was a performance that suggested he could make an impact next season. Not to mention fans liked the early signs we got from him immediately after his arrival.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

And as he prepares to return to Lennoxtown for pre-season training tomorrow, he’s given an interview to Japanese outlet Number Web as he explained why he signed for Celtic in the first place: “I had always wanted to go abroad again. When Celtic contacted me last fall, I made an immediate decision. The last time I was abroad for a year and a half, I only felt frustrated. I was determined to see how much I could do. I have a strong desire to make up for it.

“I was out of action for almost six months in Leon, which was tough. After that I had some injuries, so I went back to Japan in a way that wasn’t ideal for me. This will be my second attempt [in Europe] at Celtic. I am absolutely determined to get a result. Here at Celtic, it is easy to blend in as a club, and above all, there is a lot of respect for Japanese players because [Kyogo] Furuhashi has achieved results before me.

“Reo [Hatate] is also in the same position. Having a Japanese player in the team makes it easier, but it is also a limited position. I think it’s great that Reo got results first, but of course it’s frustrating [not to play]. In order to secure a permanent position here, I have to show my play and features more fully. Celtic’s football is very aggressive, so if I were to show my strengths, it would be in switching between offense and defense. I hope I can make the switch from defense to attack and from attack to defense. There are many offensive players in midfield, so I hope to bring out my strengths which are different from those.”

Yosuke Ideguchi will know a spot has opened up for him at Celtic

The departure of Nir Bitton at Celtic has created a strong sense of opportunity for Ideguchi in particular. After all, when you look at many of his midfield rivals, he won’t be too concerned about the competition.

Ismaila Soro isn’t breaking through anytime soon whilst James McCarthy clearly isn’t fancied by Ange. For Ideguchi, however, many believe Ange is simply waiting for the right time to throw him into the team. And with Bitton now out the door, he can expect plenty of opportunities both in pre-season and, should he shine there, in competitive action too.

Not that Yosuke is going to suddenly become the first-choice midfielder at the club. We still have Callum McGregor, David Turnbull, Matt O’Riley, and Reo Hatate who will have plenty to say about that. But given the number of games Celtic play across a season, we need plenty of options and rotation will be constant next year you feel.

Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images

Ideguchi could hopefully fill that defensive-midfield role Celtic are in need of filling. A player who can break up the opposition play and give the back four some protection.

Yes, he’ll see himself as more of a box-to-box type, but that will naturally suit Ange’s Celtic style in any case. There are so many questions regarding Ideguchi that have still to be answered.

Hopefully, pre-season will tell us a lot about where his game currently is.

In other news, The Celtic advantage that keeps being forgotten about amid departure rumours