We seem to pass the ball sideways a lot, but I want team-mates to start giving me the ball from all areas and angles. I need to speak to them about this, because I want them to have the trust in me to play the ball forward.” – Shinji Kagawa
Shinji Kagawa may have only played twice for United in the Premier League so far but he has been a breath of fresh air. The diminutive Japanese playmaker has been excellent in both fixtures and a man of the match performance against Fulham on the weekend rightfully earned him plaudits.
In a Daily Mail article, Kagawa rightly pointed out United’s tendency to pass the ball sideways a lot of the time. It has been a while since United have had a midfielder who can bring the ball forward and bridge the gap between midfield and attack. In recent years, Wayne Rooney has taken it upon himself to drop deeper and try and fill the hole but now that Kagawa is here, the problem may well disappear.
He wants the ball. He is hungry for it and by the sounds of it, he is ready to take on the challenge of becoming Manchester United’s midfield lynch pin. His intelligent movement and link up play have already brought a far more fluid and dynamic feel to our attack and it looked fantastic against Fulham.
No longer do we have to admire the footwork of David Silva or the magic of Juan Mata because we’ve got our very own Shinji show to keep us content.
Kagawa also pointed out that it may take him a little longer before he understands what Sir Alex barks on about in his team talks. Understandable – I struggle to hear what he is saying sometimes.
You couldn’t miss[against Fulham], really, could you?
“No, not from two yards out. That wasn’t the sort of goal I usually score so I hope next time I will show the United fans what I can do from longer range.
“My game is not just about scoring, though. I like to create openings. I was really disappointed to see the flag go up after I was involved in the move that led to Rafael’s offside ‘goal’.”
What differences have you noticed between here and the Bundesliga?
“The physical side of it is the first thing. I need to adapt to that.
“The other thing is the quality through the division. In Germany, the top few teams were so much better than the rest, but, here, every opponent is difficult.”
Language is a problem, isn’t it? How are you coping with Sir Alex Ferguson’s team talks?
“I can’t tell a word he says. I am trying to learn English, but understanding the manager might take a little longer.”