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Celtic: Postecoglou must ruthlessly “scrap” Daizen Maeda

Celtic‘s latest Champions League disappointment saw striker Daizen Maeda once again come under fire for his underwhelming display, with the Japan international currently enduring something of a goal drought at Parkhead.

The 24-year-old had initially sparkled following his January arrival from Yokohama Marinos, scoring eight goals and providing five assists in just 22 games in the second half of last term, although has since been unable to rediscover that goalscoring touch in the current campaign, with just one goal in 14 matches in all competitions.

Manager Ange Postecoglou noted after Tuesday’s defeat to RB Leipzig that the Hoops can’t simply just “scrap” the dynamic forward, amid his current rut, although on recent evidence his prominent place in the side may well have to be reconsidered.

The eight-cap marksman is certainly not the only figure to have underwhelmed in front of goal of late, with Postecoglou insisting that his side as a collective had paid the “ultimate price” for their profligacy by missing out on knockout stage progression, although the diminutive ace has certainly been a notable villain.

Missed opportunities have been a recurring theme for the £3.15m-rated man throughout his side’s European campaign thus far, having squandered three big chances in just four outings, as per SofaScore.

The Osaka-born menace notably failed to convert a gilt-edged opening on matchday one against holders Real Madrid, after failing to sort his feet out with the goal at his mercy, before again spurning the chance to score late on in the 1-1 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk.

The most recent meeting at Parkhead against Marcos Rose’s side saw the explosive forward fail to convert a free header in just the opening few minutes, while also showing a lack of composure after the break after skewing his first-time effort wide.

Although the 5 foot 8 speedster offers a great deal to the side with his relentless work ethic – having been dubbed a “one man closing down machine” by ex-Bhoys striker Chris Sutton last season – his inability to couple that with that much-needed quality in the final third has been an obvious source of frustration, with the home crowd notably letting out an audible grown as the versatile wide man produced a dire cross-field ball in the second half on Tuesday.

Domestically, Maeda’s only goal this season came in the League Cup win over Ross County, with the wait to get off the mark in Scottish Premiership still going on, albeit while having registered an impressive four assists in that time.

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His worrying form in the top flight has seen the one-time Maritimo loanee record an average match rating of just 6.87 so far this term, as per SofaScore, with that only the 17th-best record in the Celtic squad at present.

With a meeting to come with Hibernian on home soil on Saturday, it could well be time for Postecoglou to ‘scrap’ the forward from his starting lineup, with the player having been letting his manager down of late.

Article title: Celtic: Postecoglou must ruthlessly “scrap” Daizen Maeda

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