The little Japanese midfield magician had a solid if unspectacular first season at Old Trafford, regularly played out of position by Sir Alex Ferguson who was reluctant to use an inconsistent winger at left midfield.
It was a season he’d clearly rather forget and he’s thrown down some big intentions and claims ahead of the new campaign, which he needs to hope David Moyes looks on with a positive eye.
Kagawa wants the same sort of status and importance in the current United team enjoyed by Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, which has the effect of working for and against him at Old Trafford.
“I wasn’t satisfied with my overall performance but I played well in the second half of the season and started to get more and more confidence - In this business, you need to be like Rooney or van Persie and prove yourself if you want the ball,” he told Sports Illustrated.
Kagawa is certainly a good enough ball player for the majority of United’s play to go through him next season, but it’s important he’s careful about the way he pushes for a role change at United while the new manager is settling in.
On the one hand, it could work against him because David Moyes has never been the sort of manager who likes being dictated to by any player, regardless of how good they are.
He is very similar to Sir Alex Ferguson in the respect that he has specific ideas and ways that he wants to use his players and there is a good chance he’d already pre-planned to use Kagawa from a central position.
That would allow him to increase his chances of producing the same sort of statistics he produced during his Borussia Dortmund days where he came up with 29 goals in 71 appearances.
On the other hand, Moyes could look at these comments and be very impressed by the ambition and determination of a player he doesn’t really know to take that level of responsibility and leadership next season.
United have a lot of younger players in their current squad, who will be exposed making it important for leaders to step up all over the pitch, making Moyes’ job a little easier.
He’s in Japan’s squad for the Confederations Cup, which means we’re not going to find out how Moyes wants to use him any time soon but his comments go against the grain in terms of the club’s chances of signing Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona.
Kagawa is the proof that United don’t need the former Arsenal man because he’s just as effective in terms of possession, retaining the ball, improvisation, creating goals and also scoring them.
The positives of his comments far outweigh the possible negative aspects and if United win trophies next season, there’s a good chance Kagawa could end up as the best central midfielder in the country.
Are you impressed with his comments? How do you think David Moyes will interpret them?
image: © Marcel Sigg