Shinji Kagawa made a rare start under David Moyes against Liverpool but the United boss is expecting more from the midfielder.
In an almost exact replica of the Juan Mata situation at Chelsea, Manchester United boss David Moyes has urged Shinji Kagawa to do more, proving why he should be in the first team on a regular basis.
Kagawa has started just two games for his club this season and neither of them have been in the Premier League, suggesting Moyes isn’t totally convinced by the potential Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp has been talking about for years.
“There were bits which I was pleased with, and bits where we were looking for a little bit more. Overall, he's still getting back,” said Moyes.
So what exactly can Kagawa do to try and get more consistent first team football at Old Trafford?
The most obvious change can be the Japanese star training like an animal, working as hard as possible in the gym to improve his fitness to a point where fatigue in matches wouldn’t be an issue.
It would also be one of the most immediate ways for Kagawa to show Moyes that he’s been paying attention to the concerns the Scot has been willing to talk about publicly.
“A lot's been said [about his lack of playing time], but I think most people who watched would say he's still short of being really at full match fitness,” added the United boss.
Physically the harder he works, the greater the chance he has of bulking up and generally becoming stronger.
Kagawa is one of the smallest midfield men at United and he is vulnerable to accusations of being lightweight, which enhances the chances that he will be brushed off the ball and unable to launch into strong tackles to win back possession.
If he gets stronger physically in terms of stamina and size, everything else will follow and become a little bit sharper.
However, there is only so much Kagawa can do himself because it’s impossible for players to replicate match situations and directly improve aspects of their game unless they are playing matches.
Kagawa has been plagued since he joined United in the respect that he’s been consistently played out of position, which has led to disappointing performances from a potential match winner.
Kagawa has to be played centrally for his best form to come to the surface and now that United have players who can protect him (Rooney, Carrick and Fellaini among others) it’s important he’s given a chance to play there.
Any player can work hard on the training field and in the gym but the effects of that good work can only be seen in a match situation.
What do you think Kagawa has to do? Will Moyes ever play him centrally?
image: © Marcel Sigg