Daizen Maeda has had an eventful time at Celtic despite only having arrived in January. He scored within minutes of his debut but his initial performances failed to impress a lot of the fans, as the Japanese star did not seem like the kind of player to lead the line for the Hoops. Over the past several weeks though, he has been able to turn it around and is earning a lot of plaudits from fans and pundits alike.
Now, Maeda is still not scoring at the incredible rate that he was doing for Yokohama F. Marinos in the 2021 season. But it is clear what he brings to the table for Ange Postecoglou’s side.
His pressing is relentless and he can go at full speed for the entire 90 minutes. Maeda is the one setting the tone for Celtic up top and is a handful for any defence in the Premiership. It definitely looks like he is slowly settling in.
Recently, during a Q&A session on Celtic’s official Twitter, Maeda was asked who his favourite of the team to hang out with was. And the Japanese star answered:
"“In terms of my team-mates, I have a good feeling with Josip Juranovic, He supports me with my goal celebration.”"
Maeda has named Juranovic as his favourite teammate at Celtic
That might come as a bit of a surprise to many, who would have expected him to name one of Celtic’s Japanese stars. But it looks like Juranovic and Maeda have struck up a friendship over the past few months.
It is a good sign for sure, as it shows that Maeda is adjusting to his new teammates and building up a rapport with them.
The Japanese star could have a huge role to play this weekend when Celtic meet the Rangers at Hampden Park in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup. Giorgos Giakoumakis was forced off the pitch with an injury in the previous game against St Johnstone and is a doubt for the game. On the other hand, Kyogo only made his return to action in the same game after spending more than three months out on the sidelines.
As a result, Maeda could be the one leading the line for Celtic in the game against the Rangers. That is not a role that he has thrived in during his time at Parkhead till now though and thus, it will be interesting to see if he can make an impact there.