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Celtic hero Nakamura ready to learn English

Japan midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura, who has helped Celtic to clinch the Scottish Premier League title, says it's about time for him to learn English.

sports Updated: May 02, 2007 15:32 IST


Japan midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura, who has helped Celtic to clinch the Scottish Premier League title for two straight seasons, says it's about time for him to learn English.

"After coming to Celtic I tried to be recognised in football, first of all," he said in a recent interview with the Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun.

"(Now) I feel like getting started in English lessons which I have been planning to tackle when I can manage it."

Nakamura, 29 next month, moved to Glasgow in 2005 after three seasons at Serie-A Reggina.

The left-footed dead-ball specialist was voted Player of the Year by the Scottish Professional Footballers' Association hours after Celtic's title triumph on April 22 and also won the Goal of the Season honour.

At the award ceremony, he was seen speaking through an interpreter.

"Although I don't speak English well, it doesn't cause pressure or stress. I communicate well with the coach (Gordon Strachan)," Nakamura told the Asahi at Celtic Park.

"I think I have improved my ability to communicate, not just in words, while playing overseas," he said.

"I have come to feel free in expressing what kind of person I am. It is important to have the ability to understand feelings and intentions of other people. Otherwise, you are not used in matches."

Nakamura said he wanted to build up his communication with Japan coach Ivica Osim to the level of his rapport with Strachan.

The Bosnian strategist, who took over from Brazilian legend Zico after Japan's early exit from the World Cup in Germany, used Nakamura in his squad for the first time in a 2-0 friendly win over Peru in March.

Nakamura, the hero of Japan's second straight Asian Cup win in 2004, is widely seen as key for efforts to clinch a third straight title, a daunting task after Australia joined the regional confederation.

"If selected for the Asian Cup (finals) in July, I will do my utmost," he said.

Nakamura, whose future with Celtic has been a subject of speculation, told the Asahi: "Supporters here are supreme. I could play better this season than last season.

"I think it will take a lot just to keep up the level of my play. The pressure will get greater and other teams are getting stronger. They will be tougher in marking me," he said. "I must be prepared."

First Published: May 02, 2007 15:28 IST