NEW Bhoy Tomoki Iwata hopes to steal the limelight at Celtic – as well as relieving opponents of possession.

The J-League Player of the Year will see his loan deal become permanent in the summer when his five-year contract from Yokohoma F Marinos kicks in.

Iwata, who knows Ange Postecoglou’s style from their time together at the Japanese outfit, is typically modest when asked about his strengths and what he can bring to the champions.

The 25-year-old defensive midfielder answered: “I think my strong point is stealing the ball and my fitness.

ON THE CREST OF SUCCESS…Tomoki Iwata discusses his aims at the Hoops. Image courtesy Celtic TV.

“I also think once I fit into the team I can contribute to achieve more success. Another strong point is also working hard and, in terms of my playing style, dealing with balls under pressure and this is what I would like to express.

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

Iwata is already a winner at Celtic – without kicking a ball.

He was given a warm reception when he first stepped onto the pitch at half-time during the hosts’ 2-0 win over Kilmarnock at the weekend.

Iwata, speaking to Celtic TV, added: “I’m really honoured and I’m really happy to be at a great club such as Celtic.

IN THE FRAME…Tomoki Iwata is the centre of attention at Celtic Park during the interval against Kilmarnock.

“I was really excited [to appear on the pitch]and I felt the passion of the supporters.

“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 at Marinos, so, yeah, I was interested in the results of Celtic.”

Postecoglou has spoken on the versatility of the four times-capped performer, but has put no starting time on Iwata’s debut.

The Hoops gaffer is now preparing his players for the League Cup semi-final against Killie at Hampden on Saturday with a 5.30pm kick-off.

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