I love the media’s interpretation of what Daizen Maeda did at the start of last season.
The way they have interpreted it as a “snub” to Celtic makes me laugh.
There are two reasons why, the first of which is that it bears no resemblance to what he actually did. The second is that you have to wonder if we’d have gone for Giakoumakis or even Kyogo had Maeda said yes initially and we got our man.
Things have a habit, sometimes, of working out better than you might otherwise have dreamed. This is one of those times. Those guys are exceptional strikers, and great all-round footballers. They have hogged the headlines over pre-season, along with their counterparts in the attacking midfield, the guys like Hatate and O’Riley and Turnbull.
Don’t get me wrong; all those guys deserve that praise. But Maeda … he is not as readily singled out for the hype, and that is interesting to me because I think he’s already become one of our most effective, and dangerous, players.
Teams who play us this season will do so with a game plan; stop Celtic’s creative players and you can prevent us from running up a cricket score. That’s sound as far as it goes, and if you can get it to work. But how do you stop so many creative players?
Say your plan is to mark O’Riley, Hatate, Kyogo and Jota. Celtic still has McGregor and a choice between Abada and Maeda. We know what Abada can do, so assume that the opposition is going to try and find a plan for him … it’s a lot to be dealing with.
Now, on top of that, it becomes clear that any team which wants to stop us is going to have to find a way to deal with Maeda as well.
But I think that he is the under-rated footballer amongst them, the one teams are least likely to double mark … because, after all, you can’t double mark every player in our front-line, you’d need the goalkeeper in midfield if you did.
Certain players are going to be more dangerous than others; I like that Maeda is one of those who it’s easy to overlook amidst the rest. He will terrorise teams this season.
The one thing that the media has failed to properly comprehend in their rush to talk about the “snub” is that Ange has regarded his as integral to this project from the start.
If that doesn’t serve as a warning to them about his talents, nothing will.
Regardless, they’re going to get all the reminders they can handle … and then some.
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