‘Not sure’: Sutton hints Postecoglou’s plans letting £1.7m Celtic star down
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‘Not sure’: Sutton hints Postecoglou’s plans letting £1.7m Celtic star down

Photo by Kaz Photography/Getty Images

Chris Sutton has ‘sympathy’ for Daizen Maeda amid the winger’s ‘tough’ start at Celtic, and has hinted in his Daily Record column that boss Ange Postecoglou’s system could be letting the Bhoys’ winter transfer down.

Maeda moved to Parkhead in the recent market on loan from Yokohama F Marinos with a £1.7m option to buy. But Sutton feels the Japanese forward has struggled to find his stride while adapting to the Premiership.

The 24-year-old had enjoyed a prolific 2021 to earn a move to Scotland and a reunion with Postecoglou. He ended the J-League season as the division’s joint-top scorer with 23 goals in 36 games, mostly from the left.

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Maeda had made 16 of his 2021 appearances under Postecoglou before the Australian left Yokohama F Marinos for Celtic’s dugout. He also scored nine and provided two assists, and has already hit four in 11 for the Hoops.

But Sutton believes Maeda has slowed down in recent weeks after opening his Premiership account against Hibernian then against Motherwell. The four-cap star has failed to score in his last four top-flight appearances.

Sutton has ‘sympathy’ for Maeda as Celtic system letting star down

Sutton senses Maeda has failed to build on his Premiership goals as Postecoglou has not tweaked Celtic’s system to suit. The Japan star has shown he thrives when using his pace, but is having to break down defences.

“I do have some sympathy for Maeda,” Sutton wrote. “I know what it’s like in Glasgow. If you have a couple of quiet games in a row you are written off as a dud. It’s been tough for him to adapt to Scottish football.

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“And when you are a pace merchant who plays on the shoulder, it’s never going to be easy coming up against 10-men strung across the 18-yard line. I still like his movement and he gets in to some good positions.

“I’m not sure whipping high balls in to the box is playing to his strengths. But even that can work if there are plenty of bodies in there around him.”

Maeda got his Premiership career off to the perfect start by scoring as Celtic beat Hibs at Parkhead in January. But the forward lacked a presence when Postecoglou’s side drew 0-0 at Easter Road last Sunday.

He also struggled to get on the ball, or use what time in possession he had to good effect. And Celtic again fought to get Maeda the ball at home to St Mirren in midweek as his tricky patch of form continued.

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