Celtic FC certainly appreciate Daizen Maeda’s contribution to the cause, posting these season-so-far stats about the Japan World Cup star this morning and was timely to say the least, perhaps in defence of Daizen and in response to the remarkable criticism that the Celtic player was receiving yesterday from a podcaster, which blew up on social media.
“This tweet was created for one podcaster and one podcaster alone,” a supporter explained, commenting on Celtic’s tweet this morning.
And Chris Sutton, who is forthright in his opinions on all matters, reckons that in Daizen Maeda Celtic have got themselves the bargain of the century while making comparisons to his old teammate Didier Agathe who you will remember cost Martin O’Neill just £50,000 when he signed from Hibs.
Not everyone agrees on the merits of Agathe – but is that not always the case? Even Sutton’s striking partner Henrik Larsson was getting stick in his early days at the club was he not? The merits of Maeda blew up on social media after his performance in the 3-0 win over Livingston at the weekend and that earned high praise from Brendan Rodgers who noted that being down to ten men is no problem when you have Daizen Maeda in your team, was heavily criticised by a podcaster.
Here’s what Sandman had to say about Daizen’s performance against Livingston on Saturday in his definitive ratings….
LORD KATSUMOTO – 8/10 – The best closing-downer in world football, bar none. Daizen is Daizen – a samurai to the end; not content with running himself into the lego for the cause, he Cruyff-turns and whams one into the roof of the net with the surprised nonchalance of a shogun ending a party by cutting down a pinata. In the words of Gregory (‘s Girl) Underwood, ‘What a guy. What. A. Guy…”
Personally the only thing I disagreed with Sandman on was his decision to give the Man of the Match to Matt O’Riley (who was excellent) rather than Daizen as at the game I was enthralled by Maeda’s performance giving his all for the cause.
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) September 26, 2023
And here’s what Chris Sutton has had to say about Daizen Maeda after the game at the weekend rating the value for money Celtic have received by paying £1million to Yokohama F Marinos to that £50k Celtic paid Hibs for Didier Agathe just over two decades ago.
“A lot of people will point to the £50,000 it cost to sign Agathe being an incredible bit of business,” Sutton said, as reported by Football Scotland.
“But to land Maeda for just over a million looks like the steal of the century. He’s about three or four signings rolled into one. What a bit of business.
“I get the Agathe comparisons, sometimes the final ball is not quite there. But like him, you simply cannot fault his phenomenal output and his worth to the team. Maeda’s teammates must love him – but opposition players will hate him.
“I know he was linked with a move to Tottenham but I’m not sure how strong that interest was. There’s no doubt he would be a welcome addition to most sides. And obviously, Ange Postecoglou knew what he was going to get when he brought him in.
“If you had 10 Maedas in the team you wouldn’t go wrong. He must be a total nightmare for defenders. He literally never stops. He was RELENTLESS for 90-odd minutes at Livingston and still had the power and pace to beat his man for his goal after giving him a head start,” Sutton said.
You can understand some Celtic players getting some stick after a poor performance and a bad result. It’s harder to understand why a player is singled out after a great performance and what might turn out to be a significant win in the title race, especially when the player in question gave so much for the cause and also scored a brilliant goal too. If that’s now the bad for criticism then it’s gone very high indeed.
Daizen was heavily criticised for his performance on a Celtic podcast – everyone’s entitled to their own views and if this happened for instance after we lost to Kilmarnock in the League Cup last month then it would have been perhaps more understandable.
Like Agathe, Maeda’s final ball isn’t alway there and that’s maybe a reason why he’s not running about in a Real Madrid strip at the moment with a £100m transfer value. Sutton did well to find a player who has offered something similar to what Daizen brings to this Celtic team, that’s because they are few and far between. But each to their own.
Daizen will infuriate us at times this season there’s no doubt about that but he’ll more than make up for it doing the rest of the things he does brilliantly. So too will the rest of his teammates.
A moment of magic from Daizen Maeda in Saturday's victory over Livingston! 🪄
— BBC Sport Scotland (@BBCSportScot) September 25, 2023
Incidentally, I hope Sutton is wrong about any Tottenham interest in Daizen.
Here’s some more feedback to the Daizen tweet from the official Celtic FC account… “Aye but he’s worse than a man down so says one of the ‘experts’…”
“Love him, the engine of the team”…”Shooting accuracy surprises me, and we all know the goals stat should be higher. But his work rate is invaluable to this team.”
“We want distance covered!”
All goals of Daizen Maeda in 2020-21 season🇯🇵 At Celtic, his dedicated running, pace, and work-rate as winger have been recognized, but I would like to show once again that his talent as striker is top-notch. Moriyasu, the manager of the national team, has actually evaluated his… pic.twitter.com/L2lJdU7zf4
— Yatao (@yataoda4) September 26, 2023