The short-term consequences of Kyogo Furuhashi and Reo Hatate missing out on the Japan World Cup squad is that two of our most important players will have a midseason recuperation period. Therefore, Celtic’s title winning chances edged up this morning. Daizen Maeda made the cut and will be in Qatar.
The longer-term consequences are not so bright. When Celtic make their pitch to attract players, they talk about playing before 60,000 fans, sure, but that reaches only so far. What counts for more is what playing for Celtic can do for your prospects. Play in the Champions League (an oldie now back), raise your profile with the national team and ‘just look at all our players who leave for the EPL’, where they all really want to play.
World Cups count when a player leaves the club also. Every player who appears for even a few moments at these events is scrutinised by hundreds of scouts and coaches. If you are part of the game’s top showpiece, your profile is raised by association. If you did not make the Japan squad, perceptions about you takes a hit.
For the player trading model to work most effectively, we need to compete in the Champions League and we need our players to be included in World Cup (and Euros) squads. A Japan squad light on Celtic players may feel like good news, but it is a strategic blow.