Shinji Kagawa admitted to Japanese reporters after their 4-2 win over New Zealand that he felt weaker in the second half in an indication that he is not currently fully match fit.
The 25-year-old enjoyed an outstanding first half where he was instrumental in tearing New Zealand apart and by the 20 minute mark, Japan were already 4-0 up.
Kagawa set up the first goal with a stunning assist and kept his cool to slot home a penalty as well that would have helped brush off his goalscoring cobwebs but it seems Kagawa lack of games has caused his match fitness to dwindle.
“It really had been a while [starting a match],” Kagawa told reporters according to Goal.
“But I still had to play well and earn a good result whether I started or came off the bench.
“I didn’t feel as strong in the second half so that’s something I have to consider.”
“We were able to get an early goal so that helped me get into the game. I’m happy I was able to earn the penalty and convert it.”
For the majority of his Manchester United career, Kagawa has had fitness issues and they look to have continued due (in part) to his lack of game time.
Plenty of fans want to see Kagawa given more of an opportunity between now and the end of the season but if he isn’t able to remain fully fit, he’ll have to settle with substitute appearances.