If Daizen Maeda doesn’t make it, who plays right-wing on Sunday?

The Japanese national team confirmed last Monday that Daizen Maeda had withdrawn from the Samurai Blue squad with an injury concern.

Celtic’s pacey winger is one of the most important players in Hajime Moriyasu’s squad, being the preferred option upfront over Kyogo Furuhashi. Maeda was also a key player for Japan at the most recent World Cup, even netting in the round of 16 clash with Croatia.

It is not yet known if the injury concern surrounding Maeda will affect his availability for Sunday’s trip to Tynecastle to take on Hearts, but with Liel Abada already on the injury list for the foreseeable future, Rodgers could be scratching his head on who to start on the opposite wing to Luis Palma, who seems to have earned a starting jersey in recent weeks.


Here is a look at some of the potential contenders for that position and who will be most likely to start.

Yang Hyun-Jun

It has been a mixed start to life at Celtic for Yang, with the young South Korean looking more like an impact player from the bench rather than an effective starter. In the early stages of his Parkhead career, Yang has been most effective when appearing from the bench and running at tired defences, but it is clear that he is a very raw player who will need a lot of development to become a top performer for the club.

The only way he can develop is through more game time and, at the age of just 21, there is plenty of room for development. However, Rodgers will have noted that his poorest display in a Celtic shirt so far was at a hostile Fir Park against Motherwell, and the atmosphere will be far more toxic at Tynecastle.

James Forrest

This could be a game where Rodgers looks to call upon the experience of James Forrest.

The winger was chosen to start by Rodgers for the trip to Livingston a few weeks ago, and the manager may hope for a similar impact from the 32-year-old as he had in this same fixture last season, scoring the opening goal in a dramatic 4-3 win early in the season.

Mikey Johnston

A leftfield shout given he hasn’t been seen in the Celtic squad domestically so far this season, only being named twice on the bench in the Champions League to fill the homegrown quota.

But Johnston has been using the international stage to showcase his talents. In his six appearances for Ireland, he has scored twice and won the man-of-the-match award against Gibraltar on Monday night.

With the potential of having to call upon the 24-year-old at some point in the Champions League, giving him some game time from the bench this Sunday could be a shrewd move.

Rocco Vata

Another outside shout, Rocco Vata could be considered for a place on the bench.

The Ireland Under-21 cap is clearly too good for the Celtic B team, having scored 6 goals in 6 games in the Lowland League so far this season, but he hasn’t yet featured in the senior Celtic squad under Brendan Rodgers.

If Celtic are ever to give him a chance, surely now would be the perfect time?

Who is most likely to start?

The most likely option for a start would be Yang Hyun-jun. The South Korean more than the other named options and he is clearly the favoured option of the manager.


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