Maeda Continues To Be Celtic’s Most Underrated Player And Sometimes Whipping Boy.

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There is a section of our fan-base which always makes me laugh. They alternate between hating on various different players at various times but there are targets they return to again and again. One of them is Daizen “Danger Mouse” Maeda.

What is it with this guy that people don’t appreciate? He played wide right the other day, which I don’t think is his best position because he can’t cross the ball properly with his right foot. But then, there are people who say he’s not much better at cross with the left. This is silly, as he’s actually very decent wide left and that’s where I prefer watching him.

He is one of the most underrated players in this squad, and his role as part-time whipping boy of that section of the fan-base is actually hilarious.

Maeda gives this team so much. I was delighted when he returned from international duty with Japan because we have missed him big time.

He works so hard. He pulls defenders towards him. He scores goals. Not as many this season as he’s capable of, but he is a constant threat inside the box and defences are afraid of him.

It took me a long time to realise the truth of the football adage that the bulk of what a really effective player accomplishes in a game is done off the ball, the stuff you never see because you’re never watching for it, but if you ever need an ironclad example of that this is the guy to watch.

He is a nightmare for defenders because he is lightning quick and alert to every error and that means he has to be marked tightly and watched like a hawk.

Watch the goal he scores at Ibrox. The real work in that goal is not the moment where he breaks away from the ball, it’s the moment he gets away from his marker and readies himself to pounce on the mistake. That’s all about game intelligence and his is first rate.

His very presence on the pitch changes the way the opposition approaches the match … rival managers know this, they drill it into their players, and this constantly pulls them out of their defensive shape.

The goal at the weekend was typical of his ability to get away from people and into good positions. We play him against the Ibrox club because the act of doing so neutralises the threat for Tavernier and stops him bombing up the pitch, because it creates too much space for the direct ball for Maeda to run onto. They still don’t know how to handle him.

The manager took a brave decision to play him wide right at the weekend, especially as the media’s response to that was entirely predictable; they started asking why Kuhn wasn’t in the team.

But the answer to that is easy; the boss regards Maeda as absolutely crucial to the side and when he found out that Abada was unavailable he chose to play Palma, and the minute he did that Maeda was always going to be on the right because he was always going to be in the team … Maeda is one of the first names on Rodgers’ team-sheet and for obvious reasons.

What is the Rodgers mantra? Pace and power. Maeda might be slight, but he’s strong and sure as Hell we know that he’s fast. No wonder the manager, who does see what he brings to the team when he isn’t on the ball, loves him so much and plays him constantly.

I do wish he was more consistent in crossing the ball, but the truth is that if he was we wouldn’t have gotten near him in the first place and we sure as Hell wouldn’t have been able to keep him.

If he was only a little better at some of that stuff it would have been him, not Kyogo, who Ange Postecoglou would have been most likely to take to Spurs; people forget that Maeda, not Kyogo, was the first player he wanted to bring from Japan but his club dug their heels in.

We’re lucky to have this guy, and although I wish that some folk would get off his back it amuses me as well because a player like him is always going to be surprising more than just the opposition.

He catches the critics cold time and time again and I don’t think we’ve seen the last of that this season. Maeda is going to be crucial to this run-in.

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  • Kevan McKeown says:

    He’s a real pest tae defenders with his pace and strength and when he’s in the side he makes us a stronger unit, absolutely nae doubt about that. Any Celtic fan I know has been glad tae see him back, tho yer always gonnae have serial moaners.

  • Kevin Earley says:

    I believe the purpose of a winger is to hit the bye line turn the defence to be facing their own goal and put balls into the box and not be cutting g I side all the time Maeda is left footed so he should always be on the left wing Palma is totally right footed that’s why he’s cutting inside so play him on the right wing also I would like us to go 3-5-2 with a back 3 of Ralston Welsh and Scales a midfield of Palma O Riley Calmac Bernardo and Maeda with Idah and Kyogo up top be brave Brendan

  • Roonsa says:

    I love DM. I think he, Kyogo and Reo are irreplaceable. Certainly at our level of budget.

  • peterbrady says:

    Every fan of every legimate club in Scotland celebrate tomorrow 14th February forever known in eternity as deid hun day.HAIL! HAIL!

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Yep – an important player with the attributes that you rightly state James…

    It’s just a pity he couldn’t just tweak a few of his weaknesses and he’d be bloody awesome to the core –

    But aye – He’s better available than not and as ya say we bloody well missed him badly !

  • Scott Campbell says:

    I appreciate him for his work rate, his speed and his unbelievable engine. He just frustrates me some times because he’s not very good with the ball. But then i suppose, if he was a baller along with the other things i mentioned, he wouldn’t be playing in Scotland very long.

  • jrm63 says:

    The man is a CF so any criticism of him has to take into account he is playing a very different position. The goal at Ibrox did show his strengths. However, he cannot go round a player in a wide position, he cannot control a football and he cannot cross the ball. Watching him do these things is frankly an embarrassment.

  • John Carrigan says:

    Couldn’t agree more James. Love the wee guy and hope and pray he stays fit for the rest of the season

  • Ryan Derry says:

    Abadan is a liability. Against Hibs after the we went two up he didn’t want to be there didn’t want to track Ralston gave him a ballicking but in this climate that can’t be mentioned gives thee impression he’s already left the building

  • Brattbakk says:

    I haven’t even read this article yet just the headline but Maeda is brilliant. Almost all outraged dodgy performances this season have been in games he’s missed. If he could cross and finish better he could play for anyone but no defender wants to play against him. That’s what made me want Beck, he coped really well with Maeda (though it was Maeda’s first game back after injury).

  • Pat says:

    The support on the discussion boards need a scapegoat, it’s been Taylor most of the season but now it’s Maeda. With Taylor out we do miss him and can see what he brings to the team. Another one is Scales, no matter what he does will not be good enough, I think he will improve he has not played a lot of football, the game time he is getting will make him better.

  • Brattbakk says:

    I’ve read it now, aye he’s class?. My previous post should say ‘our’ not outraged. I was too excited because I’m always defending Maeda. I’m surprised Rodgers hasn’t played him CF, he did pre-season and Rodgers stated he seen him as a CF. Personally I’d like to see him in a front two.

  • SSMPM says:

    We have some right rotten supporters many whom actually know very little about football. Simples. HH

  • SSMPM says:

    I’ve never really understood why Miller was elevated as a player in Scottish punditry tbh. I mostly shouted abuse at him and that’s when he played for Celtic, which I don’t understand either, and now that he a pundit I don’t understand that.

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