Reo Hatate shares very honest thoughts on his Celtic start; discusses fatigue
Celtic midfielder Reo Hatate has opened up on the intensity of the ‘European game’, which has led to him suffering from emotional and physical fatigue since his arrival in Scotland.
The 24-year old joined up with Ange Postecoglou’s squad in the January window and has gone on to play a crucial part in the second half of the season, scoring four goals and picking up three assists in the Scottish Premiership. [Transfermarkt]
Notably, the Japanese internationalist made a rapid start to life in the Green and White Hoops, scoring a thunderous strike at Tynecastle and a double in the 3-0 win over rivals Rangers back at the beginning of February.
But, some fans have begun to feel in recent weeks that the midfielder’s performances in the middle of the park have dropped off somewhat, with the fatigue of having already played a full season before coming to Glasgow in his homeland last year.
In a recent interview with Sportiva, translated by Japan Times journalist Dan Orlowitz on social media, Hatate expressed his thoughts on his start to life at Celtic, discussing how he has settled in and the physical demands of playing in Scotland.
He said: “Since my debut against Hibernian, I’ve felt the intensity of the European game and played a number of games. The fact that I’ve kept getting appearances shows that the team trusts in me, and that’s given me a lot of confidence.
“But for what feels like the first time, I’m definitely feeling emotional and physical fatigue. It’s been three months since I arrived in Glasgow, and getting used to a new environment on and off the pitch has been trial and error.”
He continued, “When you’re away from your team on NT duty, there’s a chance you can lose your position. My first day back at Celtic, there was a moment that I saw two balls and was clearly jetlagged… but in Europe, you need to be tough enough to stay fit and fight for your position.
“So to start against Rangers gave me a lot of confidence. It was huge to be able to help create the equaliser. On the match sheet, I didn’t score a goal or record an assist, but it was huge that I was able to leave my mark on the team’s victory.
“Daizen talked about how even though the team has been building on what it’s been doing, those of us who joined mid-season have added our own strength and helped push us into first place.
“I definitely feel tired, but I want to keep doing whatever I can to help the team win the league, and I think I’ll become tougher and stronger as a result.”
Celtic will see a more settled Reo Hatate next season
As previously mentioned, some supporters have suspected some issues with Hatate’s fitness in recent weeks, which is only normal given the amount of football the young midfielder has played across the last 12-18 months.
Hatate showed great promise on his arrival, with Postecoglou able to get the best out of his game almost instantly, also winning the man of the match award on his debut at Celtic Park against Hibernian.
With the options that Ange and his coaching staff have in the middle of the park, it provides the Celtic boss with the opportunity to rotate in midfield, which might come into his thinking given Hatate’s fitness admissions for the crucial final few games of the season.
Winning the league could come as a massive boost for players such as the Japanese midfielder, with the automatic entry into the Champions League, meaning that the Celtic squad can have an extended break over the summer without having to return early for Champions League qualifiers.