Iwata confident he can help Celtic to Premiership and cup success

The midfielder was named the J-League's Player of the Year before signing for Celtic.

Tomoki Iwata believes he can help Celtic to even more success in Premiership and cups SNS Group

Tomoki Iwata believes his hard work and ball-winning capabilities can help Celtic to even more success in the league and cup.

The Japanese midfielder arrived in Glasgow last week following his move from Yokohama F Marinos, where he previously played under Hoops manager Ange Postecoglou.

The versatile defensive-minded player joins a side sitting nine points clear in the Premiership but he is confident he can add to the team.

The 25-year-old told Celtic’s official website: “The team has been winning a lot of games and is in first place in the league so this is why I’m thinking how I can contribute to the team.

“I think my strong point is stealing the ball and my fitness and I think once I fit into the team I can contribute to achieve more success.

“I think my strong point is also working hard and in terms of my playing style then dealing with balls under pressure and this is what I would like to express.

“I also played with the manager in Japan so I would like to show my play on the pitch and contribute to the team.”

Iwata was introduced to the Celtic Park crowd at half-time in the champions’ 2-0 victory over Kilmarnock on Saturday.

“I was really excited and I felt the passion of the supporters,” he said.

“Compared with Japan, the supporters are very passionate and I’m really looking forward to playing on that pitch with fans.

“I have been following the Celtic games, especially old highlights as well as checking the results.

“I was playing with Daizen (Maeda) at Marinos, so yeah, I was interested in the results of Celtic.

“I’m really honoured and I’m really happy to be at a great club such as Celtic and I’m just excited.”

Iwata looks unlikely to make his debut in Saturday’s Viaplay Cup semi-final against Killie at Hampden.

Postecoglou said: “He is one I was really keen to bring in initially but out of respect to my old club, after Daizen, I didn’t feel right about taking another player off their hands.

“But he has had a fantastic year and I know what he brings, he is a fantastic trainer, a fantastic character and I know the boys will love having him in the group. I know he will be a contributor.

“We have got to give him some time, he has not played for over a month. Knowing him, he has probably worked harder in training by himself than anyone else has.

“We will give him time to settle on and off the field but I have no doubt he will be a contributor between now and the end of the year.”

Iwata’s arrival saw Postecoglou complete his “priority” signings early in January but there could be further movement as speculation intensifies over the future of Josip Juranovic and Giorgos Giakoumakis.

Juranovic has been heavily linked with a move to Serie A side Monza, although the signing of Alistair Johnston looks to have tied up a replacement in advance.

Striker Giakoumakis has been linked with Sampdoria among other clubs.

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