Stiliyan Petrov states excitement for what is to come from Celtic hero Reo Hatate
Former Celtic midfielder Stiliyan Petrov has back current Hoops man Reo Hatate to continue his early success into next season.
The 24-year-old made the move to Parkhead last January, being one of three Japanese players to sign on the opening day of the transfer window.
Many Celtic fans were excited to see what Hatate had to offer Ange Postecoglou’s side after being highly rated back in his homeland.
The midfielder hit the ground running, making a huge impact during his early performances for the Hoops.
Those included a man-of-the-match performance on his debut and three brilliant goals against both Hearts and Glasgow rivals Rangers.
Whilst Hatate kept his place in the starting 11, the former Kawasaki Frontale man’s levels were quite clearly dropping off after coming off the back of an entire season back home in Japan.
Despite a slightly disappointing end to the season from a personal point of view, there was still a lot to be excited about from Hatate due to his positive first six months here.
One man who knows what it’s like to suffer disappointing times at first before going on to become a Celtic hero is Stiliyan Petrov.
The Bulgarian arrived at Celtic Park under John Barnes. However, it wasn’t until Martin O’Neill was in charge that the Hoops support was able to see the best of Petrov.
The 42-year-old has recently been speaking about Hatate’s early impact at Celtic and insisted that the best is still to come from him after learning about the Scottish game in his first six months in Glasgow.
He said [Glasgow Evening Times]: “He will have learned well from last season. He will understand Scottish football, the physicality, the technical side of it, and the players.
“When I came to this country, I had to learn a lot about Scottish football, the players I was playing against and with. It takes time. He started really well and then had a dip which is normal because of the way he plays.
“He plays with so much intensity. He has to get fitter and stronger and get better stamina, but he will do that. What I expect him to do is to trust the process trust the manager.
“If he does that, then it will take his mind off the pressure because he will be thinking that there demands on him to score all the time. He does not have to do that. It will come as long as he enjoys his football and understands the demands of Scottish football.
“He is miles away from family and friends, and there is a language barrier. You listen and talk, and when you are not involved in that and don’t understand those conversations, it is very, very difficult.”
Fans are excited to see what is to come from Hatate next season.
Towards the end of last season, it was evidently clear that Reo Hatate was in need of a rest, having come off the back of an entire season in Japan.
With the Bhoys lifting the Scottish Premiership, it has allowed Ange Postecoglou’s squad to enjoy an extended summer break, thanks to the automatic qualification to the Champions League.
And, Hatate is the player that many fans believe will have benefitted most from that break.
The midfielder has now returned to pre-season training and looks fit and firing, ready to step up his preparations for the 2022/23 campaign.
I think Hatate will be one of the players to watch going into next season and could even be a player of the season contender if he is able to add consistency to his game.
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