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Will Kagawa ever get the chance he deserves at Manchester United?

By: Liam Lines Updated 28 Nov 2013 09:12:00

Will Kagawa ever get the chance he deserves at Manchester United?

Since the start of the season, United fans, football pundits and everyone involved in football have asked the question of why Manchester United aren’t utilising the incredible talent of Shinji Kagawa. Even petitions have been created, to return him to Dortmand by the Borussia Dortmand supporters. The player himself has even said in interviews to ask the manager, why he’s not playing! Moyes has stated he knows the talent Kagawa possesses and he is in his plans. But what those plans might be is anyone’s guess.

His first season did consist of his first Premier League title, but his influence wasn’t as prominent as it had been in the Dortmand team, as he suffered several injuries and had to deal with being positioned on the wing. And Moyes so far is making the same mistakes as Sir Alex Ferguson had been. Some say Moyes doesn’t know his best team yet and with Rooney in the team the wing allows him to be in the best possible attacking position. But when Van Persie is injured the opportunity to use Kagawa where he belongs is an exciting prospect for the fans but time and time again they are disappointed, and in doing so United’s style of attacking prowess lessens dramatically.

Dealing with the injury of Michael Carrick has been tough, as others such as Cleverly, Fellaini etc are still not making the most of their opportunity. Shown on Match of the Day, Robbie Savage pointed out how all forward passes by the two midfielders failed and the one by the 40 year old Ryan Giggs almost set up a goal. With all these clear failings, Moyes could take a risk with Kagawa in the centre of midfield instead of Cleverly or Fellaini and help the attacking players with some service. We’ve all seen the reaction to former coach Jurgen Klopp who can’t believe the way his former player is being treated.

Klopp on MailOnline; “Shinji Kagawa is one of the best players in the world and he now plays 20 minutes at Manchester United - on the left wing! My heart breaks. Really, I have tears in my eyes. Central midfield is Shinji's best role. He's an offensive midfielder with one of the best noses for goal I ever saw.”

(Stats from espn.com)

Borussia Dortmund. Statistics from the 2011/12 Season.

Games startedUsed as subGoalsAssistsShotsShots on goalFouls committedFouls sufferedYellow cardsRed cards
38417108538434810

Manchester United, Statistics from 2012/13 Season.

Games startedUsed as subGoalsAssistsShotsShots on goalFouls committedFouls sufferedYellow cardsRed cards
224652611122210

So far this season he has only 9 appearances (2 as subs) and 11 shots with six in Champions League, were he has had the time and appearances to play as a centre attacking midfield but only for a short period. He currently still has no assists, no goals.

From these stats it shows when in a position suited to him he is a creator of goals whether it’s assists or scoring himself. He is also a player with fantastic touch and balance as seen through the fouls suffered, which means if in a forward position, especially centrally he can open up opportunities by passing players and able to do the neat one touch football but also can give others a chance through the free-kicks he is awarded. If a goal down Kagawa will play a forward/key pass or do a forward run, which puts pressure off the defence but also allows a team to counter attack, which United are so well known for. The Japanese midfielder isn’t perfect, he has lacked strength in the Premier League but so did De Gea when he started but he was put in the team, stuck with even when he made several mistakes and now is looking the player we expected. To play regularly allows the player to adapt and he isn’t going to adapt fully in a position away from the centre cogs of the team.

Tonight versus Bayern Leverkusen we might get the opportunity to see Kagawa in his best position with the injuries United have currently but also a perfect opportunity to allow Kagawa to show what we are all craving to see. He is a player determined to prove himself which is a significant drive that can only lead to positive results as he has the ability. A final point is that quality central attacking midfielders are a luxury in the modern game all teams need with the likes of Ozil, Hazard and Gotze. Man United need to learn from the past (Pogba) and can’t afford to waste him or he will be on the way to the exit door.

 


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