Ange Postecoglou details how Celtic can recruit more Asian players and earn 'millions more supporters'
No fewer than four Japanese players - Kyogo Furuhashi, Reo Hatate, Daizen Maeda and Yuki Kobayashi - are likely to make the starting line-up as Celtic look to seal the title against Hearts at Tynecastle, while their fellow countryman Tomoki Iwata and Korean striker Oh Hyeon-gyu feature on the bench. And the 57-year-old believes in possessing a contingent that can spread the word in their homelands about Celtic as a perfect destination to further their careers can only strengthen his hand when seeking to tempt targets from that part of the world.
“I think it definitely helps,” the Celtic manager said. “Not just because we are signing players and giving them an opportunity, but the players’ experiences help. The best feedback you can get in life is from a person who is involved. All the players who have come here have appreciated how welcoming everyone has been and how the club has looked after them, and how they have enjoyed their time in the city and how the supporters have embraced them. That is better ammunition for us in terms of selling who we are, than us just trying to tell people what we can provide. It’s coming straight from the people involved and I think that’s been tremendously helpful for us. It’s a market that will become more and more competitive, no doubt. It already is competitive. So having some trust there from people is enormously helpful for us.”
Celtic will do their own missionary work in heading to the continent in July as part of their pre-season preparations. The trip will see them face Wolves in South Korean city Suwon on July 26, with two friendlies in Japan expected prior to that date. Postecoglou sees the jaunt to a country where he was a title winner with Yokahama F Marinos in 2019 as an opportunity for Celtic to show their appreciation as much as derive any benefits.
“I’m delighted with it for personal reasons,” he said. “I was delighted with the Australia trip and I am delighted with a Japan trip. Obviously I spent four years there and knowing the country really well and a lot of people there, it’s great. I think the more important thing is that this football club gets to broaden its reach. Obviously with our recruiting in the last 18 months or so mainly in Japan but also in Korea now there is great interest in our football club.
“We want that to grow. We want to create millions more Celtic supporters and I think our presence there, I know in Japan in particular but in Korea as well, will be greatly appreciated. We will put back in as much as we get from these trips by giving the opportunity to show people just how much we appreciate their support in these countries. And we will also give back to them in terms of developing their footballers and giving them new experiences. I’m really looking forward to it, it will be a great trip. They have fantastic facilities, fantastic support, and great teams to play against. I think the players will enjoy it as well.”
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