Shinji Kagawa is ready for the big time

by Tom Parker

In this business, you need to be like (Wayne) Rooney or (Robin) van Persie and prove yourself if you want the ball. I want to be a player like them, which means I need results.” Shinji Kagawa

Manchester United playmaker Shinji Kagawa is a man of many talents and is rightly considered one of the best offensive midfielders in the Premier League.

His solid debut season with United, scoring six goals in 17 appearances, was preceded by two brilliant seasons at Borussia Dortmund and he has secured three titles in as many years in two of the toughest leagues in the world.

It’s certainly been a meteoric rise for the 23-year-old who was plying his trade at Sakai FC just three years ago and Kagawa is keen to continue to improve.

In the upcoming Confederations Cup, Kagawa will be a key figure for Japan and his 13 goals in 39 caps have seen him become one of their man men alongside Keisuke Honda and it is a role he is keen to emulate back at Manchester United next year.

“In this business, you need to be like (Wayne) Rooney or (Robin) van Persie and prove yourself if you want the ball,” Kagawa told Sports Illustrated.

“I want to be a player like them, which means I need results.”

“I wasn’t satisfied with my overall performance but I played well in the second half of the season and started to get more and more confidence. “

“Hopefully, I can keep that going at the Confederations Cup.”

Japan face Brazil in their first game of the tournament and Kagawa was in a reflective mood over his first year in England, where in glimpses he showed his fantastic qualities.

However, an injury curtailed the former Dortmund man’s initial progress and he spent the majority of the season playing in a role on the left of midfield, clearly not his best position.

The latter part of the season saw Kagawa become a near ever-present in the side but despite this, he remained insistent he was disappointed with his maiden campaign at Old Trafford which is a great sign of his attitude because as soon as a player becomes happy with their performances, they won’t strive for more.

Next season will likely be the acid test for Kagawa. Now accustomed to the physicality in the British game and coping noticeably better with it in 2013, more will be expected of Shinji. The form he showed in patches will need to be brought to the table on a regular basis during the coming months.

It is hoped that under David Moyes he will prove to be a bargain at the £17 million United shelled out for him last summer. Moyes has typically utilised goal-scoring midfielders to devastating affect at previous club Everton with the likes of Pienaar and Fellaini proving effective under his management.

And with uncertainty mounting over the future of Wayne Rooney, Kagawa’s main competition last season for the number ‘10’ role, he can expect more minutes in his favoured position next term and United will hopefully reap the rewards.

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