JOHN HARTSON has labelled the decision not to include Reo Hatate and Kyogo in the Japanese squad as “crazy”.

John Hartson and Craig Gordon
11th March 2023; Tynecastle Park, Edinburgh, Scotland: Scottish Cup Football, Hearts versus Celtic; Craig Gordon and John Hartson chat as they walk along the touchline

Celtic fans woke up to the surprising news that Daizen Maeda was the only Celtic player to be included in the Japan national squad on Wednesday morning.

The former Celtic striker questioned head coach Hajime Moriyasu‘s decision to exclude the Parkhead pair from the 26man squad for home friendlies against Colombia and Uruguay later this month.

Speaking on The Go Radio Football Show, John Hartson said:

“As I think we all agree, (Hatate and Kyogo) would absolutely be able to contribute to the team, but this time I wanted to try out some different players and that’s why they weren’t selected. I’ve watched all of Celtic‘s games and seen what they’ve accomplished and their presence in the team.”

“But there’s no bar to clear to be called up, it’s a comprehensive decision. We think about the level of the league and various other factors when making the decision.”

He told Go Radio: “Has he got a point? I think it is crazy that Hatate and Kyogo are not in the Japan national team. You find me a better striker that plays for Japan? I know one of their strikers is at Brighton, but it is crazy.”

Daizen Maeda’s inclusion doesn’t come as a surprise, starring at the Qatar World Cup last year.

To score 26 goals with over ten games left to play and not to be included in a squad is unheard of. Reo Hatate’s snub is also puzzling; he’s by far the best player in the country, and showed that on the European stage for Celtic, in matches against Real Madrid, home and away.


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