Celtic forward Daizen Maeda reveals why he has left Japan camp - 'I would rather return to the team'
The 25-year-old forward was an unused substitute for Japan’s 1-1 draw against Uruguay on Thursday and will play no part in Tuesday’s match in Osaka against Colombia, instead returning for treatment on an injury. He is the second Celtic player to pull out of the national squad on Sunday after defender Anthony Ralston left the Scotland camp.
Maeda revealed that it was his call to head back to Scotland from Asia. “I would rather return to the team and prepare for the league match than remain in the national team,” Maeda told Japanese media. “There are things I can't get unless I come here. I was inspired by the top Japanese players. Although I was withdrawn, I performed well at the club and will be representing again in June, I want to come back during the period."
Fellow forward Liel Abada was sent home earlier by the Israeli national team after reporting for international duty with a “minor injury”. His likely deputy, James Forrest, is currently out injured, potentially leaving Celtic short of options in the wide attacking area, so Maeda’s fitness for the matches in April would be welcome for manager Ange Postecoglou. Celtic take on Ross County next Sunday before facing Rangers on Saturday, April 8.