Whatever else you might say about Daizen Maeda’s withdrawing from the Japanese national team today, no-one should be calling it a “mystery” as the media has done.
The explanation is right there in the text released by their football association.
There are issues with his conditioning and fitness.
That’s not complicated for even the dumbest Scottish based hack to understand. There is no more a mystery to this than there is as to why the sky is blue. His decision to withdraw is wholly understandable.
Celtic has a fine, fine player here and those who were criticising him in the last few weeks – the same small group of our fans who has done it with Starfelt, Giakoumakis and others and who were, incredibly, gearing up to do it to Hatate next based on some of the nonsense I was reading – either forgot or don’t care that this guy has played a full season before signing for us.
That is unprecedented. Of course he’s tired.
Of course he’s got condition and fitness issues.
The guy is more in need of an extended break than probably any other player in this country with the exception of Hatate himself, who’s done likewise.
Maeda covers as much ground out on the pitch as any player I’ve seen. The two-week international break will do him good. He deserves the time out.
I would have been more surprised if he rolled up to the national camp fighting fit than I am with the news that he isn’t completely there.
The press is already painting this as his place at Ibrox being “in doubt”, if you presume of course that he was ever guaranteed to start that one in the first place. That’s just more of the nonsense we all expect from them, trying to get a story out of nothing.
With proper rest, he’ll be fit and raring to go.
Did he look, to any of us, like a player who was struggling at the weekend? He simply needs to cut back on the workload for a fortnight and I reckon he’ll be alright.
After that, with a summer break, we’ll see the best of him next season.