The sidelined Japanese midfielder makes a rare start and is heralded as a shining light in Manchester United's previously dark form.
It may only be half-time at Old Trafford and Manchester United may only be leading Real Sociedad by a slim 1-0 margin in the Champions League but fans cannot get enough of the positive effect that Shinji Kagawa's presence has had on the team's attacking impetus.
It was only recently when Kagawa seemingly went public with his frustrations over lacking match fitness for the international fixtures with Japan as he was not receiving enough pitch-time at United, however, manager David Moyes involved Kagawa in his Wednesday evening selection and the playmaking midfielder is said to have turned United into a more dynamic and effective outfit.
Kagawa, a recruit last summer, has received a paltry 45 minutes of competitive action in the Premier League thus far this season but, in that time, created two assists, had one shot on goal (on target, too), won all four of his attempted tackles and completed 85% of his passes.
Last season he was statistically even stronger, with 19 chances created (three of them turned into assists), 62% of his shots were on target, he returned six goals and completed 90% of his 834 passes in the Premier League.
Considering the club's struggles domestically, having points taken away from them at home by Southampton, West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea, is it time Moyes acknowledged Kagawa's Champions League contributions against Socieded by including him against Stoke City on Saturday?
The Tweeters below all seem to believe so…
Shinji Kagawa can hardly believe it. pic.twitter.com/43Czi8DOCh— Bleacher Report UK (@br_uk) October 23, 2013
For me Ryan Giggs should only START capital one cup games, he's too slow now. I'll play Kagawa in the central and Januzaj on the left.— Manchester United (@ManUnitedMyLife) October 23, 2013
Now, I'm not saying that starting Kagawa & United finally playing exciting attacking football are directly related, but I *am* tweeting that— Dave Chong (@BigShimmeryWall) October 23, 2013
Liking that first half, always like to look of Rooney and Kagawa playing together— Tom Robinson (@TomRobbo97) October 23, 2013
Kagawa has tracked back very well tonight.— Hamza Khan (@realhamzakhan) October 23, 2013
Take it back! Giggs been very good! Kagawa first touch is something of pure beauty! Lol #MUFC— SHIRAZ (@shiraznawaz) October 23, 2013
Very impressed with kagawa on the left and drifting in at times— Marcus Oliver (@MarcusOliver09) October 23, 2013
Good match, but United is still lack of killer instinct.. You should play Kagawa and Chicha more, Moyes! #MUFC— Norman Nazar (@normannazar) October 23, 2013
Kagawa desperately needs to be played in no.10 role, he's not a winger - doesn't face up to players and take them on. Plays in holes. #mufc— Steve P Williams (@StevePWilliams) October 23, 2013
image: © wuestenigel