Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has defended the standard of the Scottish Premiership after Kyogo Furuhashi and Reo Hatate were left out of the Japan squad.
Daizen Maeda was included in Hajime Moriyasu’s selection but his team-mates were not part of the experimental party for friendlies against Colombia and Uruguay.
Moriyasu said he was aware of what Furuhashi and Hatete could contribute but explained he took “the level of the league and various other factors” into consideration when making his selection.
That led to questions about the quality of the Premiership but Celtic boss Postecoglou was unconvinced that the decision was one that spoke volumes about Scottish football.
“Obviously both boys are playing really well and playing some good football,” the manager said. “It’s disappointing for them that they haven’t been selected but that’s the nature of international football, it comes down to the national team manager’s decisions.
“Whatever decisions they make, in terms of being disrespectful it’s one person’s opinion and I’m not really sure that we should take many far-reaching conclusions.
“If you come back next week you’ll probably find we don’t have many players training. The reason for that is they are away on international duty.
“We had five players away at the World Cup. We did okay, better than okay.
“We’ve had Josip Juranovic and Moritz Jenz leave our football club to play regularly in the Bundesliga, which is a top five league.
“Unless, once they get to those clubs they magically become better footballers, then I don’t think the selection of individual players comes down to the level of the league.
“There’s been plenty of players who have left this league and gone on to the biggest leagues in the world and performed very well, and plenty of players in the Scottish Premiership who have done very well at international level. And there are plenty of players from top five leagues who have struggled in the Premiership.
“One man’s opinion. It doesn’t mean its wrong but it doesn’t mean its right either.”
Postecoglou pointed to how Furuhashi and Hatate had preformed since missing out on the Qatar World Cup as evidence that the latest setback in their international careers would not affect their club game. he said his job was just to support them and let their football do the talking.
“I don’t give it too much thought,” he said. “My role is as their club coach, I’m not their national team manager.
“I just try and help them be the best they can be and make sure they’re in a good space in terms of dealing with whatever challenges they face in their football careers.
“There wouldn’t be any greater disappointments than missing a World Cup and if you look at the way the two lads have responded to that, they are playing football better than ever.
“They’re both really determined young men and they are going to get to the top of the game one way or another. Whatever challenge, I’m sure they’ll overcome them and my role is to help them do that.”