Former Socceroos defender Jade North hopes Riku Danzaki is just the first of many Japanese players to become a hit with Brisbane Roar in the A-League.
Ex-Brisbane Roar star Jade North believes forging links with Japan's Consadole Sapporo has been a smart move for the A-League club.
North played for the J-League team in 2012 and the former Socceroo played a key role in helping coach Warren Moon secure young midfielder Riku Danzaki from Sapporo on a season-long loan.
Danzaki's signing has proven a revelation, with the 20-year-old featuring in all 16 of the Roar's games in 2020-21 and scoring six times so far.
North hopes Danzaki's success is just the start of a fruitful relationship between the two clubs.
"Moony identified Riku as a talent that he wanted to bring to Brisbane and I pretty much facilitated it through a couple of phone calls and through my connections," said North, who was a part of Brisbane's premiership/championship double in 2013/14.
"I'm really happy that he's here because he's come to a really good culture and the boys are really looking after him.
"Hopefully there's going to be that long sort of relationship between Brisbane and Sapporo.
"If they ever want to come here to Australia or vice-versa for training camps or whatever it might be, I just think that's a really positive thing."
As well as Danzaki, the Roar have another Japanese player on their books in former international forward Masato Kudo.
The 30-year-old has taken a bit longer to settle into Australian football but hit the back of the net for the first time in Roar colours in Wednesday's 4-0 romp over Central Coast in Gosford.
North says it's no surprise to see both Japanese imports making their mark, arguing it benefits the A-League to have players from the Asian nation playing here.
"They're very gifted players and I think they add a lot when they come to Australia," North said.
"If you've got one or two Japanese in your team, they can just add something special.
"I think that's what you've seen.
"They're just very professional as well. They're probably the first ones on the training pitch and last ones to leave. Good culture for the club."