Manchester United fans have had to be patient with the other major signing of the close season, Shinji Kagawa. Within a few games of his debut the Japanese superstar suffered a knee injury which kept him out for two months and, only now, is he returning to match fitness. After playing against West Ham in the cup Kagawa got another start in the North West derby on Sunday. So how did he fare?
It’s still very early to know exactly where he will fit in to this side and, with Manchester United flying, he will need to be at his best to become a nailed on starter.
He played left midfield on Sunday and, with Rooney soon to return to the number 10 role, Kagawa may find himself out there on a regular basis this season. He wasn’t one of the most notable performers on Sunday but, overall, he was quietly impressive.
Kagawa himself will admit that he is still some way short of his best and the interviews that he has given in England suggest that this is a man full of self belief and ambition – a player who wants to be more than just a dependable squad member at Old Trafford. His favoured position is down the middle but he may find the left midfield offers him the best route into the first team this season.
With Nani out of form and fitness and Young leaving Old Trafford on crutches after the victory against Liverpool, Manchester United need some consistency down the left and Kagawa may well answer that call.
Of course, he’s not an out and out winger. He’s more likely to cut in off the flank and link up with the midfield. But he does this well. He’s neat, he’s unselfish and he covers ground beautifully. Technically he looks Manchester United class and he also displays obvious football intelligence. He did cede possession a couple of times against Liverpool but he also linked play nicely, kept the ball moving with one and two touch football and perennial motion. He also has an eye for goal and could well have scored on a couple of occasions against Liverpool. Sir Alex Fergsuon hasn’t seen too many goals coming from the midfield in the last few years and this would have a been a big factor in his decision to purchase Kagawa.
Kagawa will take time to find his place in this Manchester United side. We may not see the best of him this season. But the general portents are good and Kagawa has the potential to become a big player for Manchester United.
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