What is it with some of our supporters that they seem to need a Celtic player to pound on? What is it that motivates them? They certainly don’t seem to derive the least bit of pleasure out of the team.
You aren’t enjoying yourself if you are looking to poke holes in the progress and pick people to dislike. It’s frankly ridiculous.
Some of our fans have gone through quite the list over the last few years.
For a while last season one of the guys they’d “made their minds up” about was Giorgios Giakoumakis.
The player they hung in longest on slamming was Greg Taylor. Now it’s Daizen Maeda.
The issues they have with this guy seem, primarily, to revolve around not understanding what it is that he does.
Is he a striker? A winger? They appear to be unsure.
Tell them he was the top scorer in Japan last season and they hand waive that as it if was nothing. Tell them that he has contributed goals and assists for us and they don’t seem to care.
Last night I was listening to the ever-brilliant Endless Celts podcast when Maeda’s name came up in exactly this context; those boys had a statistic which honestly surprised me.
One of the guys said that since January, when he signed, he is second only to Jota in goal contributions … that would surprise me if it was true. But actually, his stats are impressive.
Maeda has had a hand in five goals this season alone, four assists and one strike. Last season, he scored eight goals and had five assists. That’s nine assists and nine goals … the guy has played a little over 30 games, and he’s been used as a sub in many of them and subbed off in almost all as the manager goes through the gears with his rotation system.
Yet he’s accounted for 18 goals.
His minutes per goals and assists must, therefore, be phenomenal.
Is he a better football than Jota? Than Abada?
You can argue the toss on those questions all day, every day and I would probably lean on their side when it comes to sheer quality, and I would start them both before him … but the idea that he contributes nothing is so far removed from reality that it’s not even worth seriously debating with people.
Aside from the stats, he exhausts defenders and midfielders who have to spend 90 minutes chasing after him and marking him tightly.
Watch the sheer number of times defenders are caught out of position because they’ve tried to keep up with his pace and then can’t scramble back again when the ball breaks loose.
It happens in every match.
That pays dividends when we make substitutions late in the game and fresh legs go up against footballers who are out on their feet. That pace of his and his almost limitless energy have wreaked havoc on our opponents and that’s not always readily apparent when you’re just watching a game and reacting to what you see on the ball.
Much of what this guy contributes isn’t measured that way.
Ange keeps playing this guy for very specific reasons and he knows exactly what he’s doing and what he gets out of him. Some of our fans should have a little more patience and faith and be a little less quick to jump on footballers who maybe aren’t at their best at the moment. If this guy wasn’t giving the manager something he wouldn’t be in the side.
Yeah, I know I screwed up the stats … that’s what I get for trying to do three things at once this afternoon. Nine goals. Nine assists. In the 30 odd games he’s played. The piece stands up. He’s not contributing nothing. The manager has good reasons for keeping him in this team.