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Why is Brendan Rodgers going public with Kyogo’s ‘problems’?

For reasons unknown Brendan Rodgers has decided to go public about Kyogo Furuhashi’s lack of goals making it very clear that his management and tactics aren’t to blame. In that case one goal in 10 matches must be solely down to the player.

It is a strange tactic from the Celtic manager, Kyogo will be made aware of his manager’s public comments through his interpreter.

Some players like Leigh Griffiths might respond positively to their problems and faults being aired in public, the evidence suggests that Kyogo has a far higher level of professionalism and would appreciate a more mature form of management.

If everyone in the Celtic squad mirrored the professionalism and dedication of the Japanese striker the team would be in a far healthier position.

There is no questioning the attitude and application of Kyogo, he isn’t working his ticket or pushing an agenda.

What has changed is the way that Celtic play. Last season the team worked like clockwork from the World Cup break onwards, play moved quickly down the wings, balls were cut back from the bye-line with Kyogo or AN Other waiting to put the ball into the net. Anyone requiring a reminder can take a look at Spurs any weekend.

The change has been in tactics and team-mates, only Daizen Maeda from last season’s wingers has been involved this term, since his international team-mate was injured away to Atletico Madrid the supply of goals from Kyogo has largely dried up.

During the summer Rodgers rubber stamped the signings of Luis Palma, Marco Tilio and Yang Hyun-jun with only the Honduran making a positive impact, but not by hitting the bye-line the way that brought out the best in Kyogo around goal. The chances have dried up dramatically, naturally the striker has dropped deeper for scraps of involvement.

Discussing Kyogo ahead of his return to face Feyenoord tonight Rodgers told the Daily Mail:

Nothing has changed in Kyogo’s game. He’s not been asked to play any differently. His strength is his penetration — his strength, running in behind and timing his runs. You have to make ten runs maybe to only get the ball once but that’s your job as a striker.

But when you’re playing in a lot of games where teams are sat deep, you don’t get a kick of the ball really unless it comes into the box.

So what do you do? You start wandering. And that’s always the challenge for a striker who wants to affect games.

We went through Kyogo’s video stuff the other week. We looked primarily at the fact I don’t need him dropping in so much.

There is no good in Kyogo having 40 touches if we’re not creating anything. And that’s not what he is. He’s not a creator. He’s not a dribbler, someone who can drop in. He can do it but it’s not his strength.

So there’s been absolutely nothing different asked of him because his strength is playing off the last line, timing his movements and being instinctive in the box.But he’s very receptive (to the video analysis). He’s not a baby, remember, he’s 28 years of age.

Every Celtic fan is aware of Kyogo’s age, no one has suggested that he is a baby. He is an experienced player, someone that has switched continent’s and made a success of it.

For a couple of seasons Celtic were hugely dependent on the goals of Odsonne Edouard, with his first major signing Ange Postecoglou brought Kyogo to Celtic to be the goalscoring focus, the man at the sharp end, finishing off the movement and build up play of his team-mates.

Having a striker like Kyogo should be a priceless asset, a real game changer, similar to Jamie Vardy at Leicester City.

You don’t build a team around one player but management involves getting the most from your resources. Providing chances for Kyogo should be more of a priority than adapting others into sync with Palma or Yang.

The final match of 2023 will go a long way towards shaping the remainder of the season, there is no more reliable matchwinner in the squad than the former Vissel Kobe striker.

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