One of the key takeaways along with captain, Callum McGregor returning from injury against French side Rennes today, was the introduction of Yuki Kobayashi to the Celtic team in training this week. Having signed on the dotted line for the Hoops from Japanese outfit Vissel Kobe, many are eager to see what the left-footed centre-back is all about.
It’s definitely a highly sought after commodity in the modern game the left-sided centre-back, with many teams forced to pay a premium for one. Piero Hincapie of Ecuador – whom Celtic were linked with last year – has saw his value rise excruciatingly high after a mere season in the German Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen.
So, it’s undeniable that managers the world over are desperate to source naturally left-footed defenders. Our scouting of Yuki Kobayashi holds the promise that we have found another gem that big Ange can yet develop further still, perhaps moulding him into a fully fledged international like Cameron Carter-Vickers who just played at the World Cup in Qatar and earned rave reviews, along with the Brazilian slayer, Josip Juranovic.
The future will hold big promise for Yuki if he can handle the pressure of playing for a club such as Celtic, and the Bhoys will have a footballer on their hands that European giants’ would covet in their droves. If his scouting reports and footage are anything to go by it seems like there is plenty raw material there for Ange and his staff to get to work with. This first week training with the team will be a nice little bit of exposure for the new man in his fresh surroundings.
But Ange is correct in his assessment of the situation with Yuki; we must not put this lad into the mix too quickly just for the sake of it. He needs time to acclimatise to the foreign culture and style of Scottish football, first and foremost. There will be ample opportunities in the second-half of the season but we should not pine for him to be pushed before he is fully ready.
The last thing anybody wants is for his confidence to take a battering after a dodgy display or a mistake that costs us anything during a game. Football fans can be brutally harsh and sometimes unforgiving. Initial impressions always tend to stick more often than not, whilst there is plenty of competition at the back for now anyway, meaning he should be slowly integrated so that he is safeguarded from criticism for the duration he is finding his feet.
Watch Ange speak after the Stade Rennais match about Yuki with Celtic TV below…