The 24-year-old has been one of the club’s eye-catching performers in pre-season and produced a sponsors’ man of the match showing in the 2-0 friendly victory over Norwich City. It was a joust with which Ange Posteocglou’s side completed their pre-season playing commitments before beginning their cinch Premiership title defence at home to Aberdeen next Sunday.
His invention and industry didn’t go unnoticed either with a new chant for the January arrival reverberating around the arena at various intervals across his 50 minute run-out. Such serenading will see the player double-down on the focus of his objectives going into the new campaign.
“It made me happy,” he said of the acclaim from the stands. “I heard them and it was nice to do so, I would like to satisfy their expectations. I will play for the team and for the supporters. I don’t know how sharp I am, but we still have a long week, so I will do everything I can to start the season well.
"After last season [when I came straight from completing the full season in Japan] I felt it was really important to have enough of a break, and I was able to take enough of a rest. I feel like I have been preparing well. For me, it will be the first time I have spent a whole season abroad, so it is a good opportunity to grow up as a player. We have a nice atmosphere and environment, so it all depends on me. I just want to have a good season without any injuries.”