A tactical change for Manchester United to get the best out of Shinji Kagawa?

Shinji Kagawa was finally given a start for Manchester United last night in their Champions League game against Bayer Leverkusen, it has been a long time coming.

It has been one of the mysteries so far this season and David Moyes continually made excuses for leaving the Japanese star out of his team.

For a team crying out for some midfield creativity it seems insane to leave a player of Kagawa’s quality on the bench.

In the loss at Liverpool and the draw at home to Chelsea, United’s Robin van Persie seemed to be isolated for most of the game, even a player of that service needs some service and a player like Kagawa would provide that.

He did get into the starting line up against Leverkusen but Moyes insisted on starting him on the left wing, far from his natural position. Even though he didn’t have the best game you saw that Manchester United looked much better going forward with him in the side.

The form of Wayne Rooney is obviously key to this and if Moyes can get the three of Rooney, van Persie and Kagawa playing together then they can be very dangerous.

Kagawa’s former manager Jurgen Klopp has repeatedly praised the player since he left and we all know he’s quite a good judge of talent. Only last month he pleaded with Moyes to put his faith in Kagawa.

He told the Guardian: ‘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 heartbreaks.’

Sometimes Manchester United are too over reliant on Rooney and van Persie to do everything themselves to create and score goals. If Kagawa is played through the middle, in his natural position, then this could free up van Persie and Rooney to concentrate on doing what they do best; scoring goals.

This would in turn mean United would lose some of their natural width, forced to play a more narrow game. At Old Trafford this may not work so well, but in tight away games such as at the Etihad at the weekend it could be a better solution, allowing United to gain more traction in the middle of the park.

Should United change their formation to play Rooney and Van Persie up top and Kagawa in behind?

image: © Marcel Sigg

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