Should Brendan Rodgers recall Tomoki Iwata for St Johnstone encounter?

Celtic’s performances in the early stages of this season have come under scrutiny from fans and pundits alike with the squad not exerting the same free-flowing, fast-paced attacking style of play that made fans fall in love with Ange Postecoglou’s side.

This criticism has emerged despite the club winning the first two games of the season, however, the doubters were proven right as Celtic crashed out of the Viaplay Cup in the second round at Rugby Park at the hands of Kilmarnock.

With the team playing below-par, there have been calls for some changes from fans, whether that be in the transfer market or changing up the team using the current personnel.

One player currently at the club who hasn’t had a sniff of competitive action under Brendan Rodgers is Tomoki Iwata, with the Japanese having not seen a single minute of action domestically so far this season.

The only player amongst Celtic’s Japanese contingent to have won the J-League Player of the Year and a 4-time cap for the Japanese national team, there is clearly a quality player there, but he just hasn’t been afforded the opportunities to impress Rodgers in competitive fixtures as of yet this season.

Iwata deputised predominantly at right-back over the course of pre-season and put in some solid performances as the Celtic team got up to speed, but with recent injuries having plagued the Celtic squad, a position for Tomoki Iwata in a starting berth could open up. As a versatile player, Iwata could fill in in a number of positions, an invaluable quality to have, especially given Celtic’s current issues.

But where should the 26-year-old fill in?


Iwata deputised at centre-back on a number of occasions towards the tail-end of last season with Ange Postecoglou not fancying Stephen Welsh and swiftly losing confidence in Yuki Kobayashi.

Iwata came in for two league games and the Scottish Cup final and put up solid enough performances with the only minor blip being a 2-2 draw at home to St Mirren where himself and Anthony Ralston didn’t cover themselves in glory.

Many may see this as playing Iwata out of position, but this could arguably be his most comfortable area on the park. Iwata has played 117 games at centre-back and only 40 as a defensive midfielder over the course of his career.

With Celtic currently short for options at centre-back, Iwata lining up alongside Lagerbielke could provide an interesting dynamic and would also provide protection for Iwata’s main weakness, his height, as having the 6ft 3in Swede alongside him would allow Iwata to do a lot more of the man-to-man defending.


Celtic’s midfield has been the main position that has come under criticism from supporters, particularly the performances of captain Callum McGregor.

The midfield has struggled defensively with McGregor often being nullified by being doubled-up on by opposition midfielders and pressing attackers. This has led to the midfield being bypassed far too easily and bringing Iwata into the midfield could provide a bit more solidity and steel which is what Celtic have been missing.

With this Saturday’s fixture against St Johnstone being the final game before Celtic make the trip to Ibrox for a massive match on 3rd September, this will be the last opportunity Brendan Rodgers has to tinker and experiment with the Celtic squad.

Bringing Iwata into the fold in either position previously named would be a wise decision from the Celtic boss.


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