Japan manager discusses call-up for Celtic star; 23-man squad released

By Euan Davidson

January 22, 2022

Japan manager Hajime Moriyasu has named his squad for upcoming World Cup Qualifiers, and there’s good news and bad news for Celtic supporters.

Daizen Maeda, joint-top scorer of the 2021 J League, has been called up. However, Reo Hatate will remain at Celtic, alongside Yosuke Ideguchi and the injured Kyogo Furuhashi.

The JFA unveiled their 23-man squad to face China and Saudi Arabia early this morning (GMT). It includes the likes of veteran Nagatomo, and Arsenal’s Tomiyasu. Crucially for Celtic fans, the Japan squad also features Daizen Maeda [JFA].

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Maeda, who scored on his debut against Hibernian on Monday, was lavishly praised by Moriyasu. Per the Japan Times’ Dan Orlowitz, Moriyasu said: “What I expect from him are goals. He scored shortly into his debut for Celtic and he was the J1 (co-)top scorer last season. That’s what I want from him.

“I think he earned this transfer because (Postecoglou) knows his character and his quality. That’s a big advantage and is a big reason for why we called him up.

“A lot of the time right after a transfer, managers don’t know how to use their new players & integrate them into the side, and in those cases we might not call them up. But Postecoglou knows how to use Daizen… it’s very important for the manager to understand the player.”

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Japan call up just one of four Celtic Japanese players; something of a boost

Hard to know what to make of this; the initial feeling, I suppose, would be relief. Given Reo Hatate’s performance on Monday, and the call-up for Tom Rogic to the Australia squad, Hatate’s presence at Celtic is a considerable boost.

There was no chance of Kyogo Furuhashi being called up, given his injury status. Meanwhile, Yosuke Ideguchi hasn’t been in the Japan picture for a while now.

Daizen Maeda missing the next few games, however, is a blow. But that’s what happens when you sign the co-top scorer in a league. Their national team manager is going to want to play him. No shocks whatsoever here; Maeda has been on inspired form across 2021 and now, 2022.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

With World Cup qualification on the line, you need goal-scorers. Maeda’s pace alone could threaten any defence, but as we know, he’s an accomplished finisher, too.

In terms of Celtic, the Japan squad is mostly good news. Inevitably, Ideguchi, Hatate and Furuhashi will rejoin the Japan set-up at some point, provided their form is maintained in the Hoops. We’ll have to deal with that as and when. But for now, Maeda aside, this is good news for Celtic supporters.

Japan face China on the 27th of January, and Saudi Arabia on the 2nd of February. We’ll be watching to see how Daizen Maeda gets on.

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