Opinion: Player of the Year’s time will eventually come at Celtic
Celtic’s midfield is arguably the strongest area of the Hoops squad. There are a number of players battling it out for three places in the first-team, and that usually means that some good players miss out on featuring for the Bhoys.
That is the case for recent Hoops signing Tomoki Iwata. The 25-year-old, who was named as Japan’s Player of the Year last season, has so far made just two appearances for the Hoops, playing 49 minutes of football in that time.
To an extent, his lack of playing time is understandable, as the Hoops midfield is playing so well at the moment, the likes of Aaron Mooy, Callum McGregor and Reo Hatate have all been excellent for the team.
That means that other players will have to bide their time until they get a run of games for the Hoops, and one of those players is Iwata.
He is slightly unfortunate in that he is a defensive midfielder, and Celtic’s main man in that area is captain Callum McGregor, who starts almost every game for the Bhoys when he is fit, and that won’t be changing any time soon.
It has been perhaps a bit surprising that when Celtic have games won that Iwata has not that often replaced McGregor late on, to give the player some more game time, as that has happened with fellow January signing Hyeongyu Oh, who has regularly featured off the bench.
Ange Postecoglou must have his reasons for that, but he could well give Iwata some more game time in Celtic’s upcoming fixture against St Mirren in the Scottish Cup.
You have to think that the Hoops boss will pick a strong team for that game, but Iwata could well feature if the game is won early on, similar to how he featured in the second-half of the last game in the Scottish Cup, against Morton.
Playing against St Mirren would probably be Iwata’s biggest test for the Hoops so far, and it would more importantly give the player some game time which he needs.
Unlike some of the other players that have joined Celtic recently, it might take a while before we get to see the best of Iwata at the club, and that is down to the position that he plays in.
However, with the pedigree that he has, and the fact that he was signed by Ange Postecoglou, you expect that Iwata’s time as a Celtic regular will eventually come.
Joseph Stanton says:
8th February 2023 at 2:10 pm
It’s called squad depth!