Shinji Kagawa earned his place in the starting XI for Tottenham Hotspur after a man of the match performance against Bayer Leverkusen in midweek where he showcased just how much he can bring to Manchester United.
He operated from a central role to begin at White Hart Lane with and Kagawa, Welbeck and Rooney all adopted an interchanging tactic which saw the trio switch positions constantly throughout the game. Yet, instead of building on the performance against Leverkusen, Kagawa struggled to leave his mark on a congested game at White Hart Lane where he had little to no space on the ball.
Therein lies the problem that has marred Kagawa’s progress so far at United – he has a tendency to float in and out of games regularly. He went from the centre stage against Leverkusen to a peripheral onlooker against Tottenham. Labelling that simply as because he didn’t play just in the No. 10 role would be naive.
It seems that for every good performance that Kagawa puts in, he matches it with an equally as invisible performance. He needs to find that consistency if he is to really stake his claim to a regular starting spot for United.
Like David Moyes, we have seen the best of Kagawa in Europe this year. European football suits him as because it is less physical than the Premier League, it allows him to flourish in his natural high tempo and fast movement style of play. However, Kagawa needs to adapt fast for the league.
There really have been periods where he has been majestic (Norwich at home last year for example) but there have been too many times where he has been anonymous on the pitch. His form has worked in peaks and troughs rather than a steady upward curve, so for his own sake he needs to find that level of consistency sooner rather than later.