“There is no future unless I climb the small stairs one by one,” Kyogo

Whilst Daizen Maeda was called up for national team duty by Japanese boss Hajime Moriyasu for the upcoming Kirin Cup fixtures with Uruguay and Colombia, both Reo Hatate and Kyogo Furuhashi remained on the outside looking in.

In the case of Hatate it was perhaps to be expected, given the Celtic playmaker only has one cap for his national team and seems something of a peripheral figure when it comes to Moriyasu’s international plans. Meanwhile in the case of Kyogo, despite hitting a hot streak of goalscoring form, the fact the national boss rarely plays with an out and out striker may well have gone against him.

Yet as ever with Kyogo a positive mental attitude has been exhibited by the Celtic striker as he commented on his exclusion in Japanese publication Nikkan Gendai by insisting his focus remains on playing and scoring for Celtic, where he feels Maeda remains a threat to his club selection, alongside any concerns regarding selection for Japan.

“As an individual, I still have a long way to go. After all, there is no future unless I climb the small stairs one by one. I am not thinking about the next Japan national team, and I am concentrating on the next match for Celtic.

“There have been games where Daizen has played as a centre forward (at Celtic), so I don’t think I have any guarantee of being a starting line-up. I think it’s similar situation. I just want to clear 20 goals in the league and aim for a high goal of 25 or 30. In every game, there are more chances and there are many situations where I have to score.”

Hajime Moriyasu, Head Coach of Japan, looks on prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 match between Japan and Croatia at Al Janoub Stadium on December 05, 2022 in Al Wakrah, Qatar. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Hajime Moriyasu mentioned the perceived low standard of the Scottish Premiership as being a reason for Kyogo and Hatate’s exclusion from the Kirin Cup squad, yet managed to greatly contradict his own stand when selecting Maeda.

Yet if the standard of the Scottish scene is not to Moriyasu’s taste then the Champions League would be a different proposition, and former Celtic striker Frank McAvennie, speaking to Football Insider, feels playing in that environment will bring the best out of Kyogo – assuming Celtic qualify by way of winning the league that is.

Kyogo Furuhashi of Celtic scores his team’s second goal during the Heart of Midlothian v Celtic Scottish Cup match at Tynecastle Stadium on March 11, 2023. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“I think next year he will do it in the Champions League. That is where you have got to do it. He has missed a couple of chances but I have got a feeling he is going to be strong in it.

“He just wants to learn. His movement is different class which is great for the midfielders. Players do not know whether to go to him which creates space in the midfield, that is why it is working.”

It’s getting to the stage now where you feel a change of Japan boss may be Kyogo’s only way of making the Japan national team, and whilst he’s playing in Scotland it allows Moriyasu to have a ready-made excuse not to select Kyogo when in reality his own formation probably has more of a bearing on Kyogo’s non-selection.

However, whatever formation Moriyasu choses to play with, if Kyogo takes his domestic form onto the Champions League stage it would surely be hard for his national boss to continue to ignore his talents.

Indeed, it seems the head scratching in Scotland as to Kyogo’s omission has also been replicated by the press in his homeland. As such it may only be a matter of time before Moriyasu’s hand is forced. And if Celtic are to play Champions League football next season – and Kyogo was to bang a few in – then his national manager may have to change his own plans to accommodate Kyogo in his team, as all good managers do.

Niall J


OUT ON FRIDAY...‘The Bould Bhoys – Glory to their name’ by Matthew Marr

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.

Comments are closed.