“If you’re an attacker, you have to be quite demanding,” Harry Kewell

Celtic coach Harry Kewell has been earning some positive reviews from the Celtic squad, with both players and manager commenting on his impact since joining Ange Postecoglou’s coaching staff last summer.

And in an interview with Graham Hunter for his ‘The Big Interview’ podcast, Kewell has been explaining he likes to ensure his players remain attentive by dropping in a mistake or two to the coaching playbook, just to see who is – and perhaps more importantly who isn’t – giving the session their full attention.

 Daizen Maeda congratulates Jota after he scores our opening goal during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic FC and Kilmarnock FC at on January 07, 2023. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

And it seems both Jota and Daizen Maeda pick up full marks for paying attention, although those who don’t have had their blushes spared, with Kewell saying –

“With Daizen Maeda, he’s a very good listener and learner. What you say to him, he’ll listen and take it on board. Even when I have my meetings with my players, it’s not about: ‘I’m the coach, you’re the player, you listen to what I say’. No, no, no. We’re just in an environment here to have a chat.

“I’m going to say something that’s completely wrong but I want to see if you pick up on it, because that means you’re going to be confident enough to be ale to go: ‘I don’t agree with that’. Then I know that they’re listening.

“Otherwise, they just sit there saying yep, yep, yep and people don’t want to go into meetings. They want to do other things. I’ll question it and ask if they’re sure about that. Then they’ll think about it. My first question to my players is always ‘what do you think?’ and at first, they were shy. Now, I’ll spend an hour with Jota and we won’t even start with the video. We’ll be talking about it.

Celtic’s Australian coach Harry Kewell leads a training session at Lennoxtown. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

“Certain players have to have a certain demand. If you’re an attacker, you have to be quite demanding. I even got to the point when I rang Ian Harte and asked what I was like as a player. He said: ‘I just gave you the ball. You were demanding but that’s what you want.’

“Some of these players are maybe shy because they’re still young. They’re playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world. My first impressions were that Celtic and Rangers dominate the league and all this. But being here, the amount of pressure on the Celtic team to win every day is tough. A draw’s not good enough.

“But we deliver that every day in training. We put pressure on them to deliver and the manager puts pressure on us to make sure we’re delivering the sessions that he wishes so that when the players go out, they’re ready for it.”

Celtic’s goalscoring return and incessant attacking approach has often been put down to Ange Postecoglou’s high demands, but it should be clear from this interview that Kewell’s work with the attacking players also plays a significant role in the forward’s play.

]John Kennedy  (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Meanwhile John Kennedy has been namechecked previously by Postecoglou for his work with a defensive group that have also performed admirably despite playing with the highest defensive line many of us will have ever witnessed watching Celtic play, and Gavin Strachan has been positively credited with a direct input on Celtic’s set piece threat this season.

That’s all added up to a free flowing, goalscoring and never boring Celtic side who sit nine points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership and are in the midst of breaking all manner of club records.

It appears Harry Kewell has more than played his part in all of that, although we very rarely hear much from the Celtic coach. And that’s a good reason for having a listen to this podcast and hearing his inside take on the Ange Postecoglou revolution at Celtic, and one that is perhaps just getting started!

Niall J

About Author

As a Bellshill Bhoy I was taken to my first Celtic game in the summer of 1987. It was Billy McNeill’s return to Celtic Park as manager and Celtic lost 5-1 to Arsenal . I thought I was a jinx, I think my Grandfather might have thought the same. It was the finest gift anyone ever gave me when he walked me through Parkhead's gates.

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