Shunsuke Nakamura wants more Japanese players to join Celtic in the long-term

By David Walton

March 23, 2022

Celtic icon Shunsuke Nakamura wants to see more Japanese talents sign for the Hoops in the long run and make history just like he did.

Nakamura is to this day the greatest Japanese footballer to ever grace Parkhead. Before this season, Celtic had only ever had 2 in their history with Naka being joined by Koki Mizuno under Gordon Strachan.

However, over a decade on and Celtic are now thriving after scouring Japan for further talent under Ange Postecoglou. Kyogo Furuhashi has been a rip-roaring success whilst Daizen Maeda, Reo Hatate, and Yosuke Ideguchi have all made marks too.

Photo by Hiroki Watanabe/Getty Images

And Naka has stated that he hopes more make the move as he talked up the quartet of former J-League stars currently at Celtic’s disposal. Speaking in the Celtic View [Volume 57, Issue 3, page 37]. Nakamura said: “There success is a genuine pleasure for me and I’m very glad to see Ange Postecoglou take charge and take four Japanese players over who are all playing well.

“I think Celtic have four really good players. Yosuke has more than 10 caps for Japan and is a great talent. Reo is only getting better by the day and won two league titles in Japan. Daizen is very quick and has all the ability required for modern football and matches the style of the manager.

“I hope more Japanese players will join Celtic in the future and help the club, but I also have my former team-mate Stephen McManus who is now a coach there, and I wish him good luck. I am one of the Celtic supporters in the Far East now and I hope they will all carve their name in the history of the club and I wish them all the best luck.”

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Shunsuke Nakamura wants more Japanese talents to make the leap to Celtic

Ange has made it clear on more than one occasion that he views the J-League as a market in which needs to be tapped. It’s a place he feels comfortable in when it comes to looking for players given his time there with Yokohama Marinos.

Not many would’ve imagined that Celtic were going to sign 4 Japanese talents this year. The J-League just wasn’t a market that was on Scottish football’s radar whatsoever. Yet Celtic are now reaping the benefits of exploring it under Ange.

You have to imagine this is something that is giving Nakamura great satisfaction as he watches on. As a Celtic supporter himself, it must give him great joy to see the success of the club this season. But seeing it be built upon a foundation of Japanese talent? Fantastic.

Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

You would fully expect Ange to go dipping back into Japan in the summer once again. Granted, the same goes for some of the other Asian markets that the manager is likely familiar with too.

It’s certainly a changed approach from last season under Neil Lennon. Celtic had a focus on securing talent from the English lower leagues as well as loans from the EPL. This season, however, we’ve scoured Europe to find the best up and coming talent that we can build our team around.

And to say it’s been a success? Well that would be an understatement.

In other news, Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou beams over the “outstanding” and “brilliant” Tom Rogic