The Japanese national coach continues to draw fire, at home, for whatever the hell he is thinking about in his selection of Celtic players.
It was known before he went over there that Maeda was not 100% fit and ready to go, but he was selected anyway and as Joe McHugh at VideoCelts pointed out the other day, that’s causing a lot of people to question the decision to name him in the team, and in particular when Kyogo was left out.
Joe quoted one Japanese fan and writer who said, “Moriyasu has been calling up players without considering injuries and condition, but I really want him to stop it.”
If that’s true then it’s an idiotic policy and one that risks endangering our footballers if and when they are called up. This has been amplified by a statement Maeda himself gave, in which he seems to suggest that it was his decision to withdraw from the national team training camp.
“I would rather return to the team and prepare for the league match than remain in the national team.,” he said before suggesting that there is help and assistance in getting fit that he can more readily get at Celtic Park.
I don’t like it when our players are “playing through the pain barrier” but it is clear that Maeda isn’t terribly happy about being flown halfway around the world when he’s not 100% and would rather be in Glasgow getting himself ready for games.
I want to see our players doing well for their countries; it keeps our club in the news over there, even if it does mean that we lose footballers to these faraway tournaments on occasion.
This is the price you voluntarily pay to bring these guys here.
But the Japanese national coach is becoming a source of increasing frustration both inside Celtic and amongst his countrymen for the baffling decisions he’s made in terms of our footballers. There is no way that Kyogo should be left out of their team for the players who are starting in front of him; he’s the best of the bunch and their fans know it.
The manager’s comments about the poor standards in Scotland come off like a bad joke when you consider that he picked Maeda anyway, and worse in that he took him over there when he wasn’t close to being fit for the game … and in doing so of course, he’s closed the door on even being able to call up a backup player.
He needs to do well in the Kirin Cup, as I wrote previously. He kept his job after the World Cup for their sterling performances against Spain and Germany, and he probably kept in on merit considering how massive those results were.
But prior to that tournament there were rumbles about him, and in fact he didn’t even meet what the Japanese FA said were their priorities in Dubai, which was to reach the quarter final. Some of his decisions are not popular and if he fails after seemingly picking this squad in such a scattershot fashion he might be in the job for much longer.
As I said in my last piece on this issue, when you take controversial decisions like this you had better get them right.
We’ll see whether he has or not.