I have to admit, I was surprised to read the news that Celtic’s Japanese star Kyogo Furuhashi had been left out of Japan’s World Cup squad for the tournament starting in 19 days time in Qatar.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have been though, as I have been following his exploits with the Japanese national team fairly closely.
Even after proving at Celtic that his best position was as a striker, their manager Hajime Moriyasu seemed to keep playing him out on the left, much to the frustration of journalist Dan Orlowitz, who is an excellent follow on Twitter to keep up with this topic.
But a lot of the time he was kept on the bench, and this has also been the case up until recently.
However, he has recently been getting a chance to play as a striker, but every time he does so, fails to make an impact, and each time he seems to fluff a guilt edged chance that he should be dispatching.
Celtic fans are all too familiar with that, and I have seen a real shift recently with a lot more fans willing to criticise Kyogo and point that out.
It has been especially apparent in Europe this season for us. He just misses far too many chances.
His league record is actually very good this season, 8 goals in 10 matches, but those of us who watch all the games will know that he also misses far too many chances domestically as well.
For me, the argument that he was ‘lacking confidence’ and it was just a ‘dip in form’ only really holds up partially.
Even last season, he was scoring a lot of goals, but he was constantly missing sitters, pretty much every single game.
And this season he hasn’t improved on that.
The frustrating thing about Kyogo, is he actually seems to put away the harder chances and miss the easier ones!
I’m not interested in the argument that it’s good that our players aren’t going to the World Cup so they don’t get injured, I think that’s small minded.
We should want the best for our players and hope they have that incredible experience of participating in such a tournament, that’s what every player dreams of, and for us as supports to say we are happy Kyogo and others have had their dreams crushed for our own selfish reasons, I don’t agree with that.
But personally, I do hope that a positive can be taken from this, and that this is the can be used as the kick up the backside that Kyogo needs.
He has to improve.
He can’t keep blowing chance after chance after chance.
Whatever he needs to do, whether it’s extra training on his finishing, whether it’s training techniques to improve his mind and concentration or decision making in front of goal, he needs to do all he can to better himself and make sure that he is undroppable for not only Japan, but for Celtic too, because he has great competition in Giorgos Giakoumakis and who knows, we may well add to the striking department in January.