What do Hatate & Kyogo have to do to impress Japan boss?

On yesterday’s midweek ACSOM bulletin Kevin Graham was joined by Patrick McGilip and Paddy Sinat to discuss, amongst other things, Reo Hatate and Kyogo Furuhashi’s latest omissions from the Japan squad for the upcoming Kirin Challenge Cup.

The Japanese, who made it to the Round of 16 in last year’s World Cup, face Uruguay on 24th and Colombia on 28th March, but will do so, once again, without two of the shining lights behind Celtic’s season so far.

Speaking at his press conference to announce the squad, Japan manager Hajime Moriyasu is quoted in the Japan Times as saying:

“There are no definite criteria for everything in us deciding who to choose. we think about the level of the league and various other factors when making the decision. For this squad we focused on the squad from Qatar as well as some new players. There will be other call-ups. As I said, we’re trying to build strongest team possible ahead of 2026.”

“I’m watching all Celtic games, I went to watch their Champions League game too … I believe they (Furuhashi and Hatate) would have offered their abilities for the team if they were picked, they aren’t in as we wanted to try someone else (this time).”

However, Patrick McGilip was having none of Moriyasu’s reasoning for not calling up either player.  “How you can’t pick Hatate on this form is bewildering” he said, before adding “Both (Hatate and Kyogo) were extremely unlucky not to be picked for the World Cup. Kyogo had a great start to the season and has now gone on to score 26 goals so far.  Hatate has been sensational and the best player in the team over the past 6 weeks and possibly our player of the season.”

It does seem odd that one of the reasons given for not picking Hatate or Kyogo was Morayasu wanting to build on the World Cup squad by giving some players who missed out on Qatar a chance to show their value on the International stage.

While acknowledging that Japan does have a wealth of talented players coming through at the moment, surely both Hatate and Kyogo would also fall into that category and be keen prove their ability to play for the national side.

Paddy Sinat went further by suggesting that if Morayasu refuses to pick Hatate and Kyogo due to concerns over the standard of the league in Scotland – while still picking Daizen Maeda – then perhaps this could cause the players to look at their futures at Celtic.

“I am flabbergasted that neither have been called into the squad.  My worry is that Kyogo might look at not being called up – and the manager using the level of the Scottish league as a reason – and wonder about his future at the club; does he need to leave to get the recognition he deserves at international level?”

However, Kevin Graham countered that by suggesting that maybe the manager just doesn’t see either player fitting his way of playing and is hiding behind excuses for not calling them up.

This was a point that Japan based Celtic Down Under and ACSOM contributor Liam Carrigan highlighted offline, commenting that “Moriyasu is just a Japanese manager being a typical Japanese manager. He’ll do it his way and no one will tell him otherwise. It’s not a slight on Celtic at all, just Moriyasu being stubborn. The fact Japan vastly overachieved at the last World Cup gives him this lattitude.” He also added that he believes Reo and Kyogo will get called up soon, but “it will be when Moriyasu decides.”

Whether or not this latest omission will cause either Hatate or Kyogo, or even Iwata or Kobayashi – who were also overlooked – to reconsider their futures at Celtic in order to gain international recognition remains to be seen.

What we do know, is that both players have used previous disappointment at international level to push themselves to new heights at Celtic.  Perhaps Celtic can reap some rewards from Morayasu’s continued stubbornness, and maybe, just maybe, both players make it impossible for the manager to leave them out of future squads while remaining in the Hoops.

Reo and Kyogo aside, quite possibly the biggest shock from yesterday’s discussions was when Paddy Sinat looked at the camera with his Angel Eyes and dropped the bomb that Wet Wet Wet are the one band would leave Celtic to join.

It’s a Sweet Little Mystery that Paddy has kept this quiet for so long but Love is All Around at ACSOM Towers and we forgive Paddy for his faux-pas as he misheard the question and thought Kev asked what band would you leave to join Celtic.  The correct answer to that question is that you would any band for the chance to play just one minute in the Hoops.

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