Celtic need Reo Hatate back from injury

There is a lot of noise and narratives surrounding Celtic at the moment, something Brendan Rodgers has addressed over the last few days in the media.

The perception is that Celtic have been doing poorly since the return from the winter break, and despite the Hoops still maintaining their top spot in the league table, supporters have been heavily critical of the performances as it feels like Celtic are just scraping by at points.

Celtic are creating a lot of chances, but they aren’t high-quality chances. The team are seeing a lot of the ball, but aren’t really doing anything with it.

The midfield in particular has come under particular fire over the last few weeks, but there is one man who can come into the Celtic midfield and add that missing piece to get Celtic firing on all cylinders this season.

Reo Hatate has been seen scarcely this season. Surprisingly dropped for David Turnbull at the start of the season and plagued by injuries ever since, we haven’t really have a chance to see a free-flowing Reo Hatate in this Celtic team.

Often Callum McGregor and Matt O’Riley have been doing the jobs of 2 to 3 players this season, but the return of Hatate in a months time will be like a new signing, and here’s why.

A Creative Risk-taker
The feeling surrounding Celtic this season is that it is almost as if the team are trying to pass the ball into the net. Constantly passing the ball around the opposition backline without any real sense of direction or urgency, even when the team are chasing a goal that could seal a crucial 3 points.

Reo Hatate is exactly the type of player who will take those risks, make that driving run forward through the opposition, two things that he did so often under Ange Postecoglou.

He has a great passing range whilst also being an impressive dribbler, and it looked like he was beginning to hit form at the Asian Cup just before being withdrawn through injury once again.

Hatate is also a fantastic distance shooter, and he is someone who can produce a moment of magic when the team desperately needs it, something that the Celtic squad is lacking at this current point. You just have to look at his two fantastic goals against Rangers in his first ever derby appearance to the see the proof of that.

A Settled Midfield
There hasn’t really been a point this season where the Celtic midfield has been settled. Under Ange Postecoglou, the midfield was the strongest position on the park, with McGregor, O’Riley and Hatate making up the perfect trio.

This season, Brendan Rodgers has been constantly chopping and changing the midfield in an attempt to get a tune out of it, with Odin Holm, Tomoki Iwata, David Turnbull and Paulo Bernardo all being afforded opportunities and to differing success.

However, none of them are as good as Reo Hatate, and the return of the Japanese in a months time can be the final key to a settled Celtic midfield.

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