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Daizen Maeda Tried in New Position By Hajime Moriyasu




Daizen Maeda has developed into somewhat of a cult hero at Celtic over the past few years.

Signed from Yokohama F. Marinos by Ange Postecoglou, the Japanese wide-man remains as key under Brendan Rodgers as the previous manager.

His contributions in Glasgow derbies this campaign – where he has given James Tavernier nightmares – have moulded him into a favourite among many supporters.

Daizen Maeda Celtic
Soccer Football – Scottish Cup – Final – Celtic v Rangers – Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland, Britain – May 25, 2024 Celtic’s Daizen Maeda in action with Rangers’ Dujon Sterling REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

Few will forget his opener at Ibrox within 21 seconds, or his direct run which saw John Lundstram divert the ball into his own net at Parkhead a few weeks later.

He has had a few injury issues this season but on the whole, the 26-year-old has proved reliable.

Maeda accumulated 36 appearances in all comPetitions throughout 2023/24, registering 14 goal contributions in the process.

He was played on the right and left wings several times, but recently, he has been utilised in a new role for his country.

Indeed, Hajime Moriyasu put Maeda on for the last half-hour of Japan’s 5-0 win over Myanmar yesterday as a right-wing-back.

Maeda has never played such a role in his career, but one can comprehend Moriyasu’s decision because the double-winner has all the attributes to defend, get up and down the pitch amply, and prove a threat in attack.

On the positional change, the player himself admitted it doesn’t faze him.

He said: (Football Scotland) “I’m an attacking player, so I can play forward, but totally fine with defence. Wing back is my first position in my career, but I’m having fun now.”

Japan take on Syria on Tuesday. It will be intriguing to see whether Maeda takes up a similar role in the World Cup qualifier.