Reo Hatate youth coach salutes Celtic transfer as he heralds Rangers goals that will ‘live forever’

THE FOOTBALL coach who helped develop Celtic player Reo Hatate insists he’s glad Ange Postecoglou’s men have tied the Japanese star on a four-year deal as it won’t be long before the big guns come calling for his services.

Hatate former U12 National Select team coach Tom Byer watched on in admiration as the 24-year-old’ capped a dream Glasgow derby debut by stealing the show and scoring a brace during Celtic’s 3-0 rout of Rangers at Celtic Park on Wednesday night.

Byer is not in the least surprised to see the Japanese star hit the ground running in Glasgow running because he believes he is such a technically gifted footballer.

In the aftermath of the Premiership victory, Byer posted a picture of Hatate playing for the U12 National Select Team.

Byer was the head coach of the U12 National Select team in Japan for many years and he reckons after his two-goal salvo against Rangers, Hatate has already written himself into Celtic’s history books.

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The country was 11-years-old in the pic which was taken in Hokkaido after the U12 National Select team had defeated Consadole Sapporo in the final.

Byer insists that all the Japanese stars signing for Celtic – Kyogo Furuhashi, Hatate, Daizen Maeda and Yosuke Ideguchi – have caused a stir back home in Japan.

And he’s sure there is a prodigious production of Japanese talent just waiting to be discovered.

Byer said: “Our Japanese boys are really making an impact at Celtic which is great to see.

“It is no surprise to me or anybody involved in Japanese football to see these guys do so well.

“Reo was always a very good technical player and he was very determined, focused and disciplined.

“That is a huge plus for Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou.

“It all comes down to the environment and Japanese players tend to perform much better for foreign coaches than they do for Japanese coaches.

“Foreign coaches give them much more freedom and actively encourage them to go out and express themselves and do special things like dribble the ball, take chances, take risks.

“I am imagining that makes up a lot of Ange’s football philosophy. He seems to get the best out of his players.

“When he was at Yokohama F. Marinos it took him a year to find his way but after that, he swept the boards and won everything.

“Ange is playing Reo in a good position as he is everywhere on the field by the looks of it.

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“It is just as well Celtic have nailed him down on a four-year contract.

“I hope he spends a couple of seasons at Celtic at least and doesn’t get bought.

“Believe me, I am sure there are going to be some huge clubs in Europe who are going to try and buy him.

“Every time he plays his value is going up.

“A lot of players make the mistake of moving too soon when big clubs come running to them.

“I think Reo would be better suited to staying at Celtic for a few seasons and get more experience and have fun and adjust to life outside of Japan instead of going to a super-club and becoming a part-time or a utility player.

“A lot of Japanese players have made that mistake before Reo.

“Hidetoshi Nakata and Shunsuke Nakamura, who should have stayed longer at Celtic.

“What a start Reo has made for Celtic. He has scored three goals in four games and already has two man-of-the-match performances.

“He is brimming with confidence. We get all the games here live and Reo was sensational against Rangers.

“His two goals were quality, world-class strikes.

“The second was all down to his technique and he had the poise to bend it around the goalkeeper.

“He was actually taking pride in what he did at the second goal and he was in the moment and in the zone.

“To produce a performance like that especially against Rangers, I would imagine that game will live forever now.

“It is great to see players like Reo making his mark at a huge club like Celtic and enjoying some success.

“Celtic supporters should enjoy them while he is there.

“I have to say that we have a lot of future football stars and an assembly line of great players in the making here in Japan.

“Reo and Kyogo’s success at Celtic is shining a bright light on Japanese football and the players that we are producing.”

Originally from New York, Byer, a former footballer, trained with the Tampa Bay Rowdies franchise, but the NASL was in decline and the league folded soon after.

He is now based in Tokyo is one of the most decorated and admired grassroots soccer coaches in the Asian region and is a bit of a celebrity in Japan.

In 1986/87 he became the first American to play soccer in Asia by signing for Hitachi FC (currently named Kashiwa Reysol, playing in the J-League).

In 1989, when he quit football By became the face of a highly successful Clinic Program for the 10 years that it ran before introducing the Coerver Coaching Program and traveled throughout Asia clinics for National Football Federations to help improve and encourage youth development.

Byer has been cited as a major developmental influence by national stars such as former Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund star Shinji Kagawa, Aya Miyama, as well as Takum Minamino at Liverpool.

he said: “I have been in Japan for the last 37 years.

“I have worked with former Celtic player Shunsuke Nakaura and I know him really well as we were the ambassadors for the 2002 World Cup which was held in Japan and South Korea.

“Paul Mariner was literally my big brother in Japan for 30 years.

“Currently there are three boys from my schools who are Japan national team players – Takumi Minamino at Liverpool, Ritsu Doan at PSV Dohan and captain Wataru Endo who plays for VfB Stuttgart. They all came from our soccer school.

“I came to Japan as a player but I quit playing and I am now a technical coach.

“I introduced the Coerver soccer coaching system and method to Japan.

“It was Paul Mariner who introduced me to the Coerver football methodology.

“Paul was one of the best human beings I have ever come across.

“We ended up building schools all over Japan.

“We held football coaching schools and skills events for years.

“We did 2,000 events for hundreds of thousands of children.

“All the big players would come to the events and thousands of kids would turn up to them.

“All or nearly most of all of Reo Hatate’s generation will have attended one of our soccer schools.

Celtic Way:

“Players like Hatate, Kyogo, Maeda and Ideguchi will all have grown up with the TV program which focused on soccer techniques and that went national every weekday morning for 14 years.

“We influenced an entire generation or two of budding Japanese footballers into the simple premise that if you wanted to be a good technique player it all started with the.

“When you look at the characteristics of most Japanese players they are extremely technically good.

“The Japanese culture is made up of the fact that there are no real individuals first it is more a team collective environment.

“They play a very possession-based type of football.

“Japanese kids are very good technically and my football schools were not for elite kids they were put on for average kids.

“When you can close the gap between the elite kids and the average kids that is when the elite pool can become enormous.

“All the Japanese kids that you now see who are making a name for themselves in Europe and on the world football stage will have come to our programmes.

Everything focused on technical development.

“Reo has grown up in this environment.

“It was my job as a coach back to go around the country and select 16 boys to play for the U12 National Select team.

“That explains the photo that I posted on Twitter as Reo appeared at one of these football events we held in Nagoya.

“We then held a futsal tournament and having watched thousands of kids, Reo was selected as one of the 16 to represent the U12 National Select team.

“During the Tokyo Olympics, I was watching Japan playing and Reo was playing in the game.

“Reo was one of the players I selected for the U12 National Select team back in the day.

“That was the picture that I posted on Twitter after the Celtic v Rangers game.

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“There is also a picture of Reo sitting beside Okada Takeshi who is a legend of Japanese football and was the former head coach of the Japan national team.

“It is funny to look back at that photo of Reo and Okada together!

“I have fond memories of Reo playing in the U12 National Select team.

“I just identify players at a young age and I put them into the track. It is up to them to see where their career takes them.

“Reo has shown that he has clearly got the goods. I have not seen him since that photo was taken when we won that tournament in Hokkaido. I wish him every success.”