Reo Hatate details honest conversation with Celtic boss about fitness at difficult moment
Celtic midfielder Reo Hatate made a successful start to life in Glasgow during his first six months with the club.
The 24-year-old arrived on the first day of the January transfer window and was thrust straight into the side by Ange Postecoglou.
The Japanese internationalist also made his impact on the side within the first few games, picking up the man of the match award on his debut against Hibs and scoring in huge wins over Hearts and Rangers.
However, as the end of the season approached, many fans believed that the midfielder was beginning to struggle with fatigue, having come off the back of another full campaign back home in Japan.
Despite his fitness struggles, Hatate consistently kept his place in the starting 11 and continued to play his part in the excellent run of form towards the title push.
Speaking in a recent interview with Japanese outlet Sportiva, Hatate opened up on his fitness issues, stating that he held a meeting with the Celtic manager about taking him out of the side.
However, he revealed that Postecoglou convinced him to fight on for the rest of the season, even after his struggles with fatigue.
Hatate said: “Since I became a professional, I have not had a lot of time off, and I have been going, but due to the accumulation of fatigue, my momentum had dropped to the point where I had to admit it to myself.
“Therefore, when I had a meeting with the coach, I wanted to play in the game, but I also showed my true feelings. I don’t know if I can continue to play like this, and to be honest, I don’t think I’m playing the way the coach wants me to.
“At that time, the coach replied that there’s a lot of things that I’m able to do. Maybe I’m not doing it individually, but there are a lot of things that I’m able to do for the team. Instead of looking at what was lacking, he made me look where I was able to do it.
“When I expressed my true feelings, I was prepared to be removed from the group. But when the squad for the next game was announced, when I looked at my name, I was in the starting lineup.
“The coach’s words and his mindset helped me fight until the end of the season.”
Hatate will be raring to go next season
The midfielder pushed through towards the end of the season and continued to contribute as the Hoops went on to lift the Scottish Premiership title.
Hatate has now been given the chance to rest and recuperate over the summer, having also not been selected for international duty with Japan.
So, the former Kawaski Frontale man will now be raring to go as we prepare for the beginning of the 2022/23 campaign.
Many fans have predicted that the midfielder will be the player to watch going into next season and a potential shout for player of the year.
It wouldn’t come as a surprise to Celtic supporters, with the early quality that Hatate is displayed at Parkhead, all whilst suffering with fatigue.