Everybody wants to see Shinji Kagawa play. He is a magician, that much is obvious, but his performances so far this season hadn’t warranted a deserved starting spot.
In a previous piece on the site, it was a point that was made to staunch criticism by those who saw it as a hate campaign against the Japanese playmaker – it wasn’t.
Tonight, Kagawa took his chance with both hands. He grabbed it and showed his best attributes; a natural panache combined with an unwavering calm in possession and a keen eye for a glorious pass. That’s the Kagawa we’ve all been waiting to see this season.
And the unthinkable happened – Kagawa was given his preferred role in the hole. He thrived in it for the ten minutes he had like a child given access to a forbidden book on the top shelf and immediately looked more comfortable both on and off the ball. Whether he will be able to have that role more than for just ten minutes at the end of a game remains to be seen.
Up until this point, he has played well but never made himself indispensable in the same fashion that Adnan Januzaj has with his opportunities. Now, Kagawa deserves a starting spot against Stoke.
With Robin van Persie injured and Javier Hernandez out of form, an ideal front four could be Rooney up top with Januzaj, Kagawa and Nani behind him. Liquid football.
Neil Ashton’s criticism of Kagawa is peculiar given that tonight was his best performance but the Japanese playmaker won’t let others thoughts effect him.
We’ve been waiting for Kagawa to really take a firm grip of an opportunity when it was given to him and against Real Sociedad, he did exactly that. Well done, Shinji.