New Celtic striker Daizen Maeda has been described as a “physical beast” who will “terrorise” Scottish football with his electric pace and skill, according to Ange Postecoglou’s former No.2.
John Hutchinson, who was the Australian’s assistant during their time at Yokohama F. Marinos, believes last season’s J-League join top-scorer could play for any club in Europe.
Hutchinson reckons if the 24-year-old can link up with compatriot Kyogo Furuhashi effectively, the duo could prove an unstoppable force and cause opposition defenders significant problems.
While Kyogo burst on to the Scottish Premiership scene in the summer, Hutchinson believes Maeda is a very different player.
He insisted Maeda’s goal scoring record in Japan was made even more impressive due to their decision to play him on the left wing rather than as an out-and-out number nine.
Speaking to the Scottish Sun, Hutchinson, manager of USL side El Paso Locomotive, said: “I have never seen a more physical player, in terms of speed and repeat sprinting than Daizen.
“Daizen is a physical beast. You’d have no issues sending him anywhere in Europe because it won’t be a problem to him.
“He’s a machine. The improvement in him over the last season or so under Ange was incredible. He makes dangerous forwards runs and scores goals.
“He will terrorise defenders in Scotland. If it clicks for him with Furuhashi up front, which I think it will, it will be frightening for the other teams.
“He’s different to Furuhashi in that he’s more all-action and powerful. We played him the majority of last season on the left wing, but when he gets in the box his first-time finishing is very good.
“He’s electrifying when he gets the ball at his feet and starts running. What he really improved on was his technical ability, getting the ball under pressure and make something happen.
“He will bring goals, one-touch finishes and energy to Celtic. He can create for other players, too.
“The majority of his work will be done inside the box. I think he only scored one for us from outside the penalty area. He’s a gentleman, a really great professional who trains hard every day.
“His numbers when you analyse training and games are incredible and while that doesn’t automatically mean you can play football, in his case he’s got the complete package.”
Meanwhile, utility man Reo Hatate is expected to join his fellow new Japanese recruits in Glasgow this afternoon after flying out of Japan last night.
The 24-year-old, who can play at left-back or midfield, will link up with his team-mates at the Hoops’ Lennoxtown training base after his arrival into the country was delayed as he awaited his work permit documents.
Hatate and Maeda will be free to face Hibernian on January 17 after both players were removed from Japan’s Kirin Cup squad for the match against Uzbekistan.
However, the nation have crucial World Cup qualifiers against China and Saudi Arabia on January 27 and February 1, with Maeda, Hatate and Kyogo all expected to feature, providing Covid regulations allow them to travel.