The Herald - Herald Sport
‘Serious’ Hatate hailed for discipline
ANGE POSTECOGLOU is not one to stand for lazy stereotypes being bandied about in a Celtic press conference. So when it was suggested Reo Hatate might be a “deep thinker” on account of the midfielder having a blog detailing his life in Scotland, the manager took aim with one of his trademark piercing verbal arrows. “Sometimes footballers get stereotyped,” he ruminated. “Just because they can write a blog, they are deep thinkers!”
It just so happens that in this case, model professional Hatate is someone who does take his game extremely seriously. He is one of a generation of footballers that understands to get the best from their body they have to apply a 24-hour athlete mindset. It is an outlook that is extant throughout Celtic’s squad, with captain Callum McGregor leading the culture from the front.
While the top performers of the past often allowed others to take the reins in their life, most now see the benefits of taking control for themselves, not least elegant Japanese playmaker Hatate.
Postecoglou said: “He thinks a great deal about himself, his football development, his career, everything. Everything he does is very measured. You watch him in training, he’s not the kind of guy turning up to have fun. He’s very serious about everything in his life. He’s not the only one. There are a few in there.
“I think modern footballers almost have to be that way. There are so many things that can take you off the rails, you have to think about every aspect of your life. It’s the way football is these days. Young players coming through understand that now, and, more importantly, are taking control of a lot of things in their life that in the past they’d leave to other people.”
Hatate and Kyogo Furuhashi returned from the international wilderness with Japan call-ups to face Peru and El Salvador last week. While Daizen Maeda has been consistently selected by the national team, his two compatriots have missed out – despite being standouts in the
Scottish Premiership. Postecoglou was delighted to see three of his signings back in contention under coach Hajime Moriyasu.
He joked: “Maybe Scottish football has improved in the last six months… I’m pleased for both of them. I had no doubt they’d get another opportunity. They have been outstanding for us and it’s fully deserved. I know they were both disappointed, particularly with the World Cup, but also with subsequent selections. They’ll get a buzz at being in there. It’s always great to go to the national team on the back of a season where you’ve won a few medals.”