The Lowdown: Maeda enjoys good World Cup
The 25-year-old played a key part in Japan’s tournament in Qatar, starting two of his country’s group stage matches and leading the line in the round of 16 too.
Maeda scored once in the competition, in a key encounter against Croatia that finished 1-1, prior to Japan crashing out on penalties.
The Latest: Attacker backed to find new gear
Speaking to Football Insider, McManus backed Maeda to improve his club form after a positive time of things in Qatar:
“Fair play to him, he has had a good World Cup and Japan had a good run. It’s great for Maeda, great for his confidence. Playing and scoring in the World Cup is the pinnacle. Maybe he will come back to Celtic a more confident and better player.
“He has taken a bit of stick from Celtic supporters, he’s missed a lot of chances. He hasn’t really shown that composure in front of goal but maybe he will come back a different player.
“You always want to see your players doing well at the World Cup and I think he did well with Japan. Goals like that can make a huge difference to your career if you capitalise on them.”
The Verdict: Still a key man for Celtic
There is no denying that some of Maeda’s finishing for Celtic has been underwhelming of late but he remains a hugely important figure under Ange Postecoglou.
His work-rate and general impact in attack are influential, even if he isn’t banging in the goals, and he is always someone who can be a match-winner for the Hoops.
Maeda showed on the biggest stage of all what he is capable of – he averaged one tackle and interception apiece per game at the World Cup, leading Japan’s press from the front – and now it is time for him to find another level in a Celtic shirt.