Robson happy to share Celtic's set-pieces with Nakamura

BARRY Robson claims that Celtic team-mate Shunsuke Nakamura is proving he has far more to offer than set-piece expertise with his contribution to the title push.

The Japanese midfielder, 29, has recently recovered the form which earned him player of the year honours in Scotland last season.

He and Robson have been sharing free-kick and corner responsibilities, but both have also made major contributions in open play. Robson said: "Naka is one of the best free-kick takers in the world – there is no doubt about that. Look at his corners, free-kicks, crossing – it's exceptional.

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"But he's also got more to his game. He's a fit guy, he works so hard for the team and he's great to play alongside."

Celtic are preparing for Sunday's Clydesdale Bank Premier League home match against Hibernian. If Rangers lose to Motherwell tonight and are also beaten at Ibrox by Dundee United on Saturday, then Celtic would go into the game against Hibs knowing a win would secure them a third SPL title in a row.

Robson and Nakamura will be expected to play a key role against Hibs, even if the title is not on the line.

And former Dundee United captain Robson, also 29, is happy to divide the set-piece duties with his team-mate. "I can help Naka out with the corners and vice versa," he told Celtic View. "It's good to have that mix and we are both comfortable with the way things are working out."

Meanwhile, Celtic striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink has been named in the Netherlands' 30-man preliminary squad for the European Championship.

Real Madrid forwards Ruud van Nistelrooy and Arjen Robben have also been chosen, despite their injury problems. Van Nistelrooy underwent surgery on his right ankle in March and only returned to full training late last month. Robben, who has suffered a string of injuries this season, scored as Madrid beat Osasuna 2-1 on Sunday to clinch the Spanish league title.

National coach Marco van Basten will cut the squad to 26 players on 16 May. The final 20-player squad has to be announced by 28 May with the tournament due to begin on 7 June.

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