Kawasaki Frontale midfielder Reo Hatate (pronounced Rayo), who represented Japan alongside Maeda at last summer’s Tokyo Olympics and secured his first Best XI selection in the league.
Dan Orlowitz of the Japan Times writes – Hatate, the only one of the trio to have not played overseas, will be valued by Postecoglou not only for his technique with the ball and keen passing sense, but also the versatility that saw him start the season at left back, transition to his usual place at left wingback and be named to the league’s Best XI as a forward — his registered position.
Although he has just two years of pro soccer to his credit, both were spent as a starter in a talent-stacked Frontale squad that rolled to its third and fourth league titles. Hatate’s collegiate career is nothing to sneer at either, from his Rookie of the Year award and three Best XI selections in the Kanto University Soccer League to repeated trips to represent Japan at underage events such as the prestigious Toulon Tournament, the Asian Games and the World University Games.
“If I hadn’t chosen to join Frontale, I wouldn’t have experienced as much as I have in my first two years since graduating,” Hatate said in his farewell statement. “I’m so glad that I’ve played for this team and I’m thankful to everyone at the club for treating me so warmly.
“As a player and a person I want to challenge myself to grow (at Celtic) and I will be grateful if Frontale fans continue to think of me.”