How Manchester United fans can show Kagawa what he means to them

As Kagawa's former fans start a campaign to bring him back, United fans should develop one of their own... to play him.

Earlier this week, Manchester United’s Shinji Kagawa temporarily became as Twitter-famous as the pop stars and Hollywood starlets that regularly trend on the social media site.

With the Japanese playmaker yet to become a regular starter at Old Trafford, fans of his former club Borussia Dortmund took to the internet to playfully plead with United to release their onetime hero.

Using the hashtag #FreeShinji, the campaign quickly trended in Germany, and led to a spate of newspaper reports in England citing previous quotes from Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp that he would take Kagawa back in a heartbeat; along with a statement from the player himself that he would like to return to his former club in the future.

In light of the Twitter trend, I wondered why United fans hadn’t started a campaign of their own – #PlayShinji. But a quick search of the site showed that they had…or at least that a few fans had ended their own frustrated tweets with that very plea.

But given that the Dortmund fans’ campaign came to the attention of media across the world, surely United fans have the clout to do the same should they wish.

Some footballers simply do not acclimatise to different leagues. But in the case of Kagawa that isn’t true.

In the fleeting moments he has been given free reign, he has excelled; not least during his outstanding performance against Norwich City last season, at the end of which he collected the match-ball for his hat-trick.

I watched a lot of Kagawa during his time in the Bundesliga. And when United signed him last summer, I had no doubt they had secured one of the brightest young talents in the game.

Perhaps he will still demonstrate that in time. But following Wayne Rooney’s performance on Monday evening, you wonder if and when Kagawa will be played in his natural position.

If this season follows the pattern of the last, United could have signed and sold one of the best playmakers in world football in just 24 months.

It is all hypothetical of course. But two games into the new campaign and Kagawa is yet to appear for a single minute. At Dortmund, he would have played every second; a fact that says everything about his quality.

For a long time I was pessimistic about Twitter. I thought it was a place to tell the world what they had no interest in hearing. But I am starting to realise it also brings common causes together.

So if every United fan who reads this also tweets it, and adds #PlayShinji at the end, they could be part of their own worldwide trend.

Maybe David Moyes doesn’t pay attention to Twitter, but don’t be surprised if Kagawa does.

image: © Schwenke

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch