Japan boss explains Reo Hatate's role after calling up 2 Celtic stars

By Euan Davidson

March 16, 2022

Celtic will see two of their star players, Daizen Maeda and Reo Hatate, join the Japan squad to face Australia and Vietnam later this month.

Hajime Moriyasu, who spoke with various figures at Celtic including Ange Postecoglou and Michael Nicholson, has kept a keen eye on the duo. Plus Yosuke Ideguchi and Kyogo Furuhashi, who have starred for the Samurai Blue in recent years.

Given fitness and form though, it’s Maeda and Hatate who have received the nod. It’ll be a frenetic finish to World Cup Qualifying, with just 3 points separating Japan and Australia in the group stage [Sky Sports]. Moriyasu’s side could yet top the group, provided Saudi Arabia lose their 1-point advantage at the top.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Hatate could be in line for his first senior cap with Japan. Having represented his country in the Olympics, and at both U20 and University levels, it’d be a huge boost to the midfielder’s CV. Hajime Moriyasu has lauded his performances, while giving some insight on how he wants to use him.

In a press conference announcing his squad, Moriyasu said [via Dan Orlowitz]: “Hatate’s adjusted to playing in the Premiership & living in Scotland, and looking at his performances I decided to call him up.

“I think he’ll best be able to play the inside-half role he’s been in for Celtic.

“But I also think he can play at other positions.”

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67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

Japan boss Hajime Moriyasu impressed by Reo Hatate and Daizen Maeda at Celtic

Despite some ridiculous hot takes from Japanese pundits, we’re doubtful Reo Hatate or Daizen Maeda are ruing their decisions to come to Celtic now.

For Hatate, it’d be the pinnacle of his career so far. Having impressed at different youth levels, the chance of earning a senior Japan cap has to be a source of enormous pride. For Daizen Maeda, it’s another opportunity to dazzle in the blue of Japan.

For Kyogo, there is an implication. Moriyasu said that he’d evaluate the extent of the striker’s injury recovery before making a decision on him. Clearly, especially given the quiet around him from a Celtic perspective, he’s not ready yet.

Photo by Adil Al Naimi/Getty Images

As for Yosuke Ideguchi, there’ll be more chances. He’s already starred for and scored screamers with the Samurai Blue. The more comfortable he gets playing for Celtic, the more likely it is Moriyasu will find a space for him in the squad, to add to his 15 Japan caps.

It seems like no time since the last international break. Yet here we are on the precipice, and it’s a potentially huge moment for two fantastic January signings.

Let’s hope Hatate and Maeda can fire Japan into the World Cup.

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