I have been watching yesterday’s video from A Celtic State of Mind on Youtube this afternoon, and it was another excellent and interesting show as always.
Japan based contributor Liam Carrigan joined Paul John Dykes who was hosting the show, and he gave a very interesting insight into Celtic’s January signing, Tomoki Iwata:
“First of all, Iwata is one of the best holding midfielders to come out of Japan in quite a long time.” Stated Liam when asked what Celtic fans can expect from him when he gets a run in the team.
“I don’t want to oversell things, but people are making comparisons to Nakata, who was the first Japanese player to really break out of the J-League and make a big name for himself in Europe.”
“People are saying he’s on that level.”
“And I think he might well be in the years ahead.”
“He has superb distribution from the holding midfield position, likes a tackle, he’s a physical presence.”
“You know, when we say Japanese footballers, most people think of someone like Kyogo – they think of a wee, slight, pacey but maybe slighly lightweight kind of guy, whereas Iwata’s got the nickname ‘The Tank’, and it’s well earned!”
“So he is definitely going to be a breakout star next season, if he isn’t already.”
Its very exciting to hear that Iwata is so highly rated in Japan, especially since Nakata was a superstar over there and a fantastic player to boot, playing in Serie A for many years clubs like Perugia, Roma and Parma when they had the likes of Cannavaro, Adriano and Adrian Mutu playing for them.
In March 2004, Brazilian icon Pele named Nakata in his FIFA 100, a list of the top living footballers at the time.
If Iwata is anything close to Nakata’s level, he will be a fantastic signing for Celtic, and I’m looking forward to seeing him hopefully get a run of games in the rest of the league campaign and much more of him next season, when he will no doubt be raring to go after a rest and a full pre-season under his belt, much like Hatate was after coming in the previous January.
You can check out the acsom episode below, with the conversation on Iwata starting on the 34 min mark.