BRENDAN RODGERS praised Celtic’s Japanese Bhoys when he talked to the local media before the match against Yokohama F Marinos in the Nissan stadium today.

Naturally, the Far East Press contingent were eager for informationtion on the progress of Kyogo Furuhashi, Reo Hatate, Daizen Maeda, Tomoki Iwata and Yuki Kobayashi at the treble winners.

The friendly encounter – with an 11am kick-off UK time – sees the return of two former Marinos favourites Maeda and Iwata.

Rodgers said: “Daizen and his team-mates who have come to Scotland have already been successful.

“The two years they’ve been at Celtic, they have won five trophies out of six. Daizen has played at the World Cup, so they are doing a wonderful job.

“But I think it’s the humility of the players that’s important, the hard work, and the tactical idea has improved over the years. You can look around the world and Japanese players are progressing so well.”

Rodgers, speaking to Celtic TV, added: “To be here playing when we have our Japanese players and to take Celtic to Yokahama is very special for them and for us.

“Our priority at this stage of pre-season is our fitness. We are playing a fantastic team that is coached so well and it’s a perfect game for us at this stage of our preparation.

“When I see Kevin Muscat’s team play, it doesn’t surprise me how well he has done. Winning the championship here in 2022 was a fantastic achievement, but not just winning, winning with the style of football he plays.

“We’re delighted to be here and we’re really looking forward to the game.”

Young centre-back Kobayashi was the only one of the Japanese stars who missed out on the Hoops’ 3-1 Scottish Cup Final triumph over Inverness Caley Thistle in the Scottish Cup Final on Saturday June 3.

That triumph brought down the curtain on a spectacular campaign with the Hoops completing a world record eighth domestic treble.

Kobayashi could make an appearance at some stage at the Nissan Stadium with Rodgers keen to rotate his squad to get the rust out of their limbs ahead of the competitive start against Ross County at Parkhead on Saturday August 5.

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Yokohama F Marinos v Celtic today – only in your champion CQN.

Click Here for Comments >

About Author