Goal-hungry Kagawa set to break big wall
Shinji Kagawa desperately wants to end his scoring drought in Japan's friendly against New Zealand on Wednesday, in a bid to gain much-needed game time at Manchester United.
"I have never experienced such a long time without scoring a goal," he told Japanese media. "I cannot change the situation I am in without producing results on the pitch."
The 24-year-old Japanese, in his second season at Old Trafford, has yet to convince David Moyes, who took over from Alex Ferguson as United manager last year.
Kagawa has played in just nine of the club's 27 Premier League matches this season, neither scoring nor assisting any goals.
Nor has the attacking midfielder ruffled the net for Japan since the 3-1 friendly win over Ghana at home in September last year.
"I want to grow by overcoming such a big wall in front of me," said Kagawa, who moved to England after helping Borussia Dortmund seal the Bundesliga title for two straight seasons.
"It is significant that it (the wall) exists in the World Cup year. To change it into something positive, I will only have to deliver results."
In his last outing for United, on February 25, Kagawa played for the last 30 minutes in the 2-0 defeat by Olympiakos away in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 round.
Against New Zealand, Kagawa is expected to play in the second line behind a lone central forward and alongside new AC Milan signing Keisuke Honda and Mainz striker Shinji Okazaki.
Playmaker Honda has also struggled to impress after moving from CSKA Moscow on a free deal in the winter transfer window.
Alberto Zaccheroni's Blue Samurai will be without the services of two first-team regulars, Schalke defender Atsuto Uchida and captain and Nuremberg midfielder Makoto Hasebe, through injuries.
The friendly at Tokyo's National Stadium is Japan's first match of the World Cup year following their solid finish to 2013. They drew 2-2 with the Netherlands and beat Belgium 3-2 away in friendlies in November.
Japan, four-time Asian champions, are bunched with Colombia, Ivory Coast and Greece in the World Cup first round in Brazil.
New Zealand, who impressed at South Africa 2010 with three straight draws at the group stage, failed to qualify for Brazil after losing to Mexico in an inter-continental play-off.
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