The Ange example worth remembering after Celtic boss defends methods

By Euan Davidson

December 15, 2021

Yesterday, Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou defended the intensity of his training, amidst a raft of injuries. And, let’s be fair, he was more than entitled to.

The trophies he’s won with Australia, Yokohama F Marinos and Brisbane Roar are testament to his methods, even if there’s a short-term sacrifice. But it’s also worth remember the case of a player he had at Yokohama F Marinos, Ado Onaiwu.

Onaiwu was bouncing around from club to club in the J-League before he met Ange Postecoglou. After building up some form in the J2 with Renofa Yamaguchi, he earned a move to Oita Trinita. He wasn’t there long, before Postecoglou snapped him up for his Yokohama F Marinos side.

Photo by Hiroki Watanabe/Getty images

And Onaiwu admitted he couldn’t understand the intensity at F Marinos, at first. But the gruelling behind-the-scenes work paid off. In the 2021 season, Onaiwu scored 12 in 20 games, before earning his Japan debut, and a move to Toulouse.

He said in June [via Daily Record]:

“I always knew if I kept playing well and scoring goals for Yokohama, I would get a chance with my national team. And I owe this to my manager Ange Postecoglou who has left the club this week.

“I have enjoyed an excellent relationship with him and he has been a huge influence in my career.

“I don’t mind admitting that when he first came to the club, I was confused with his training because it was of such high intensity. But because of that, he improved my game immeasurably and you can see I got my rewards by playing against Serbia.

“I will always be grateful for his guidance in my career.”

Ange shares promising Kyogo news, as Maloney set for Celtic reunion | Ross County Preview

Ange shares promising Kyogo news, as Maloney set for Celtic reunion | Ross County Preview
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

No pain, no gain for Celtic under Ange, but players will reap rewards if they trust the process

Yes, the number of injuries are massively concerning. There’s no getting around it. We’re likely to head to Dingwall with a midfielder up front, and at least one defender on the wing.

But Onaiwu is proof that players can improve immensely under Postecoglou’s guidance. In fairness, we’ve seen that already with the form of Anthony Ralston. Callum McGregor, too, has been utilised in a new position to great effect.

There is evidence that, despite the short-term set-backs, Ange’s way is the best method.

Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

And obviously, Ange is not going to change at Celtic, saying yesterday [Celtic FC]: “To try and explain to people the logic, when it looks illogical what I’m doing, is that what I’ve always resisted… to adjust the game style for people aren’t ready for it.

“I just don’t work that way. We go hard from when I take over, and we keep going hard right until the end. Along that way… some players are going to struggle with it, I think it’s only logical.”

Given what some his players have gone on to do, whether it’s winning the Asian Cup, or making a dent on the international scene, the rewards are obvious.

It won’t be for everyone, either. But the evidence suggests that if the players trust the process, it’ll be more than worth it.

Read more: The transfer trap that Celtic have to avoid this January window