"Second to none"; Greg Taylor on the "dream" Celtic teammate earning plaudits at Lennoxtown

By Euan Davidson

March 11, 2022

Greg Taylor has described his Celtic team-mate Daizen Maeda as “unbelievable”, after an impressive start to life in Scotland.

Maeda, capped 4 times by Japan, has scored 5 goals in his first 12 Celtic games [Transfermarkt]. Although he’s yet to convince every Celtic fan, his work rate and pressing from the front have been a major boost to Ange Postecoglou’s side.

That work rate in-game is matched at Lennoxtown, says Taylor, who was quick to remind us that Maeda has come off a full season in Japan. In the J League last season, he scored 23 goals for Yokohama F Marinos, where he was signed by current Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Though the goals haven’t come as readily as Maeda or supporters might’ve hoped, Taylor insists he’s a popular man at Lennoxtown.

Taylor said [Herald]: “I think Daizen [Maeda] has done really well for us.

“A lot of his work goes unnoticed. The way he presses and creates chances out of nothing is a midfielder and defender’s dream.

“He works so hard for the team. Believe me, he’s very appreciated. All of us in the building are all grateful to have him.

“Daizen has already played a full season and his work rate is unbelievable. All of the lads work their socks off to be fair but Daizen is just a cut above the rest. It’s second to none.”

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Celtic defender Greg Taylor shows the regard Daizen Maeda is held in by teammates

In fairness, you can absolutely see what Greg Taylor is talking about here, regarding Daizen Maeda.

The Japanese forward does a lot of work off the ball. According to Statzone, Maeda has made 15 recoveries and won 19 fifty-fifties, showing real ambition and attitude to win the ball back. That, and he’s a familiar sight around both boxes; against Bodo/Glimt, for example, he could be seen very, very deep in the Celtic half, pressuring Ola Solbakken.

Perhaps we’ve been a bit spoilt by the impact of Kyogo Furuhashi in the summer, because Daizen Maeda should probably be more appreciated already. He hasn’t made a slow start to life at Celtic by any means, and his work rate is absolutely phenomenal.

Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

He’s the kind of forward who can, indeed, find something from nothing. When he’s more attuned to Scottish opposition, he’ll understand the kind of patterns other teams have, know when to attempt to exploit channels and half-spaces, and who to pressure.

Greg Taylor, who’s played and trained alongside him, has a better view than most of what Daizen Maeda can bring to this Celtic team.

The fact, at least in Taylor’s eyes, that he’s “a cut above the rest” in terms of his effort? It’s not a huge surprise.

Read more: Celtic squad set for Friday rest day as Ange Postecoglou explains benefits of lighter schedule