Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou reveals when he expects Tomoki Iwata to be available

By Lewis Laird

January 18, 2023

Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou has revealed it will likely be at least another week before January recruit, Tomoki Iwata, is in contention for the squad.

The 25-year-old became the club’s latest addition in the winter window, arriving from J-League champions Yokohama F Marinos.

Iwata joins the Hoops fresh off the back of winning the player of the year award in his homeland at Ange Postecoglou’s former side.

Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

So, as expected, Celtic supporters are excited to get their first glimpse at the versatile midfielder after signing on an initial loan deal.

However, some patience was required before we see Iwata in action for the Bhoys, with his last competitive outing coming in early November.

The Japanese international has now spent the last week or so training with his new teammates at Lennoxtown, and he appears to be settling in nicely.

Speaking ahead of tonight’s game against St Mirren, the Celtic manager rated the chances of seeing either Yuki Kobayashi or Iwata in action for the first time.

Whilst there is an opportunity that Kobayashi could make an appearance, the former Socceroos boss stated that it is likely going to be another week before his newest signing is in contention.

He said [Daily Record]: “I’ve still to make the final decisions, but there will be some changes for St Mirren. It depends. Tomoki, probably not yet, he only really joined us in the last week, and he has missed a bit.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

“Yuki is close; he came to us having started a pre-season camp, so he’s had a good three or four weeks of training.

“He obviously lacks some game-time, so we’ve got to find that game-time for him, and I think you will find we will probably give him some of that through the next couple of fixtures with the quick turnaround from midweek to Saturday.

“He’s definitely close, but for Tomoki, it will probably be another week or so before he’s in a condition to be given an opportunity.”

Tomoki Iwata still getting up to speed, but midfielder will be ready to hit the ground running when available.

After no competitive action in around two months, it comes as no surprise to hear that we will have to wait a little longer for Tomoki Iwata to make his Celtic debut.

However, although it may take a little time for the midfielder to get back up to speed, he should be ready to go right from the off.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The former Yokohama F Marinos man is already well aware of Ange Postecoglou’s system, having played under the 57-year-old in his homeland.

He also knows a few familiar faces within the Celtic squad, such as Daizen Maeda. So that should make his integration within the dressing room a much easier process.

All that Iwata needs to focus on now is getting himself up to match fitness and sharpness in preparation for his Hoops debut, which is likely to come in the next few weeks.

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