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Celtic: Kieran Devlin defends Daizen Maeda

Celtic: Kieran Devlin defends Daizen Maeda -Celtic News

Celtic journalist Kieran Devlin has expressed his surprise at the notion that January signing Daizen Maeda has started his Parkhead career ‘poorly’.

The lowdown

The Hoops signed the Japanese forward from Yokohama F Marinos on an initial loan last month, and in the summer, the move will be made permanent for a fee of £1.38m.

The 24-year-old has made nine appearances so far for the club, starting four Premiership games and both legs of the Europa Conference League play-off tie against Bodo/Glimt.

Maeda has netted four goals for the Hoops up to this point, including one on his debut against Hibernian.

The latest

On The Athletic‘s matchday forum, a supporter said that their problem with Maeda was his ‘woeful’ first touch, arguing that the 24-year-old produced a ‘particularly poor’ performance against Dundee last Sunday.

Devlin mounted a strong defence of Maeda in response, suggesting that his ‘outstanding’ work off the ball was underappreciated.

The journalist replied: “Game of opinions and all that, but I think we must be watching a different sport! Thought he was decent on Sunday with a directness that had been badly missing from Celtic’s wingers in the games previously, especially how well he does in creating the second goal.

“His control isn’t great but neither is Giakoumakis or Abada’s, really, but they like Maeda have other good qualities. His linkup play has been good enough while off the ball he’s outstanding, both in his pressing and his movement to create chances for himself and teammates.

“I can’t wrap my head around the theory I’ve seen online that he’s started his Celtic career poorly – but as I say, what makes these discussions interesting is how we all think differently about football and Celtic!”

The verdict

Maeda’s goal return for Celtic so far is solid, but what do the rest of his performance numbers say?

He has missed three big chances, namely situations where he should reasonably have been expected to score (via SofaScore). He hasn’t offered much from a creative standpoint either, supplying only 0.2 key passes per 90 minutes, and he’s only winning 39% of his duels.

As for his control, he is averaging two unsuccessful first touches per 90 minutes (via WhoScored).

There is some room for improvement, but perhaps he’s almost suffering from the form of fellow J1 League arrivals Kyogo Furuhashi and Reo Hatate, both of whom have impressed so much in the early knockings at Celtic that they’re already being touted as future Premier League players.

More patience may be required with Maeda.

In other news, read this injury expert’s latest claim on Christopher Jullien

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Article title: Celtic: Kieran Devlin defends Daizen Maeda

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