Japan’s Maeda experiment will be interesting to watch unfold

Daizen Maeda had a superb season for the club last season and highlighted the need for his industrious attitude and ability to start our defending from the front of our attack.

He pretty much took care of James Tavernier consistently in the Glasgow Derbies in his own and chipped in with his fair share of goals along the way too.

One of the things that is always levelled at the buzzbomb is his lack of composure at times when he’s either shaping up to cross the ball to a teammate at the byline or going in on the keeper one v one. In reality, it’s a small price to pay for everything else he provides for the team and his manager, and if he were to improve on those things, he would be the next star being touted with a move to the English Premier League.

However, even though Maeda has been utilised mainly as a wide-forward on the left or right-hand side more often than not, his boss at international level, Hajime Moriyasu, has deployed him in the wing-back role lately. It’s a move that has intrigued as Daizen certainly has the required attributes to play that role; with an engine that never breaks down and hamstrings that seem to made from cast iron. Likewise, his defensive side of the game is pretty much infallible if your looking for a player to do the dirty work.

The player remarked of this new role after his country’s match with Myanmar, via Soccer Digest Web: “Of course, I don’t know who will be in the match, but when I play, I have to show something different (from Keito Nakamura). The opponents will come in a situation where they need to win, so I think it will be a difficult match. I want to make sure I’m fired up. Wing-backs have to run longer distances and I think I can use my weapons (speed and running ability) more than other players, but it becomes hard if I do that all the time for 90 minutes.

“It’s important to use your head and think about when to come up. In a way, it’s a position I’ve never played before, so it’s fresh and I’m looking forward to it. I want to do what I can do against strong opponents. This season the coach changed (from Ange Postecoglou to Brendan Rodgers) and the style of football changed, so it was difficult at first, but my role didn’t change much and I was able to play well. I want to show the results of that in the last game of the season (against Syria) and finish in a good way.”

Although it remains to be seen whether or not Brendan Rodgers would feel that move would be of use at club level, it is interesting to watch how Celtic operate in the transfer market this close season and if the Irishman will have a view to making a formation change this time around at Celtic Park – particularly in European football. He’s used that five man midfield and back three at Leicester City before he returned to the Bhoys and I just wonder whether he might fancy changing it up next term.

Could Dazien be part of a potential shake-up with the formation next season..?

Paul Gillespie

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I'm a Garngad Bhoy through and through. My first ever Celtic game was a friendly against Italian side Parma at Celtic Park, in 2002. Currently a student of English Literature and Education at the University of Strathclyde for my sins. Favourite game would be a toss up between beating Manchester United with that Naka freekick, or the game against the Oldco when Hesselink scored in the dying seconds. I'm still convinced Cal Mac is wasted playing that far back.

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