Ange Postecoglou today spoke about how pleased he has been with what January signing Tomoki Iwata has brought to the team and having previously coached the midfielder while in charge of Yokohama F. Marinos in the J-League, the Celtic boss is not surprised in the slightest about the impact that the player is starting to have for the Hoops. And the Celtic boss also let us know about the nickname that the Celtic squad has for the player.
“Yeah, look I am really pleased,” Ange said at today’s media conference when asked about Tomoki Iwata. “He’s one of those that I knew really well because I’ve already managed him before so I kind of knew what I was getting.
“Tomoki or Tomo, as the boys are calling him as they’ve got to turn him Scottish somehow!… anyway, he’s just a really strong-willed determined footballer who I always knew would always try and be the best he can be.
“So even before I brought him in here, I knew that he would add to our environment just because of the way he goes about things. If you ask the lads I think they’ll all tell you the same thing. He’s just an unbelievable trainer and he is unbelievable in the gym as he does everything right, which I knew he would, but he’s also a quality player and I think he brings something different to our midfield. He’s a little bit of a hybrid,” the Celtic boss said.
“Even though he looks like he sort of plays defensive midfield. His background is that he almost started as a wing-back then he became a sort of central defender in a back three with a licence to go forward.
“He’s got immense running power and is really strong. He’s very mobile and he’s technically very good on the ball. I like the fact that when we play him in the midfield he’ll keep growing, obviously once he adjusts more, I think you’ll find he’ll be one of these players who will play that role very differently from anyone else.
“I was starting to see elements of that and I’ve probably been a bit cautious about how much game time I’ve given him because I remember last year just overloading the guys who had just come off a full Asian season.
“That can be to their detriment and easing him in means that he’ll finish strong. Whatever games we’ve got left he’ll be great and then he can do a full pre-season with us and be ready for next year. I am really pleased with him but probably the least surprised about how he’s going because I knew what I was getting before he came.”
Tomoki – or should that now be Tomo – Iwata looks like being yet another top quality player brought to Celtic by the manager.
Here’s Ange’s media conference from earlier today ahead of tomorrow’s 3pm kick-off against Motherwell at Celtic Park where a win will see Celtic go 15 points clear at the top of the league looking down on theRangers, who play at Pittodrie on Sunday afternoon.