Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Soccer Football - Men - Group A - France v Japan - International Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama, Japan - July 28, 2021. Daizen Maeda of Japan celebrates scoring their fourth goal REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

Former Japanese internationalist Daisuke Matsu has tipped Celtic star Daizen Maeda to be the difference-maker for his international side in their World Cup qualifier against China on Thursday.

The 24-year old striker arrived in Glasgow at the beginning of the January transfer window, after joining from J-League side Yokohama F Marinos, where he worked under current Hoops boss Ange Postecoglou last season.

Maeda made a quick start to life as a Celtic player, scoring in the opening minutes of the Hoops return to action against Hibernian last Monday and was also part of the side which secured their place in the 5th round of the Scottish Cup last weekend.

However, the frontman will now miss Celtic’s next three fixtures due to being selected for international duty, as his nation gets set to take on China and Saudi Arabia.

Despite missing those fixtures, Maeda is being tipped to have a significant impact away from Parkhead by former Ligue 1 player Daisuke Matsu, who stated that he would like to see the striker involved in Thursday’s crucial qualifier against China.

“I would like to see the quick-footed Daizen Maeda come on in the second half, score a goal, and then score another on the counter,” he said, as quoted by Sports Digest.

“He also scored a goal for Celtic, so I want him to score a goal on the counter-attack.

“There aren’t many players who can make a difference. It’s the last qualifying round, so it’s going to be a very close game, 1-0 or 0-0. I think he can make a difference.”

Although it is extremely frustrating to be missing yet another player for our up-and-coming games, added in with the injury issues the squad currently facing, I am sure all Celtic fans would love to see Maeda doing well for his nation.

The rapid attacker has made a superb start to life as a Celtic player, with one goal already to his name and scoring for his nation could further boost his confidence on his return to Glasgow.

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