Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou is the benchmark managers in Japan are aiming for, according to Toru Oniki.
The Kawasaki Frontale boss was a frequent foe of Postecoglou’s in the J-League before the Australian took the leap to Scotland.
The move was heavily scrutinised at the time but he won the Premiership in his first season and delighted Celtic fans with his scintillating brand of football.
He’s also shone a light on the J-League by giving stars such as Kyogo Furuhashi and Daizen Maeda the chance to prove themselves abroad.
And Oniki, who did battle seven times with Postecoglou in the far East, says he’s leading the way for coaches currently in Japan.
He told Keep Up : “As a leader, I think he is one of the coaches who is a goal and a guideline to aim for.
“I think he is a successful coach who has achieved results in the J-League and has been attracting attention overseas.
“He is playing attractive football overseas.”
Oniki is credited with bringing Reo Hatate to prominence before Celtic moved to land him in January.
The 48-year-old identified him at a young age and saw hidden talents within his skillset – converting him from a striker into a midfielder.
And now he’s starring for Celtic with four goals and three assists in his 13 Premiership appearances so far.
He said: “Reo participated in a pre-season training when he was a junior and senior university student.
“I heard from a team scout that there is good player and asked him to participate in team training. I felt that he was a very talented player.
“He joined as striker. At the time, I had him working on playing as a midfielder as well.
“He was a player who is very powerful and can do hard work.”