Reo’s back: “He’s a top midfield player and his mind is focused,” Brendan Rodgers

Chris Sutton was saying last weekend in his newspaper column that getting a fully fit, focussed and motivated Reo Hatate back will be like having a £10m new signing coming into the team. Hatate will have watched his two Celtic teammates Kyogo and Daizen Maeda play for Japan yesterday against Turkey and will be anxious to play for his country in the next international break.

Celtic v Wolves – Pre Season Friendly –  Mario Lemina and Reo Hatate during the match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin.Saturday July 29, 2023.Photo Brian Lawless

He’ll also be determined to make his mark in Celtic’s Champions League campaign which gets underway on Tuesday night in Rotterdam against Dutch Champions Feyenoord. Hatate, you will recall, was linked to a move to Saudi Arabia in the summer but his agent immediately shot that down stating Reo’s ambitions lay in European football and making an impression in the Champions League.

Tuesday night is his stage and on Saturday Brendan Rodgers has the chance to ease the Japanese midfielder back into action against Dundee where hopefully we’ll see a return to our best choice midfield trio of McGregor, O’Riley and Hatate.

In his interview with Celtic TV yesterday, the Celtic manager gave an injury update on Hatate and a positive report on how well he is doing in training. In that short spell against Aberdeen after coming off the bench at the break, Hatate looked to be back to his best and hopefully he’ll hit the ground running against Dundee.

“We’ve got Reo Hatate now back training with the squad which is great news,” Brendan Rodgers told Celtic TV. “His energy has been really good, he’s worked really hard since he picked up that injury against Aberdeen.

“I’m really pleased he’s back, he’s a top midfield player and his mind is focused on playing in the team and doing very well, so he’s back.”

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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

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