Moyes comes round to United star Kagawa: He's fantastic!

Played wide left against Real Sociedad, the Japan international may be deployed centrally in future.

Shinji Kagawa's first team opportunities have largely been restricted under the David Moyes regime at Manchester United.

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The diminutive attack-minded playmaker is one international cap shy of 50 appearances, he is still just 24-years of age, was a two-time Bundesliga winner with Borussia Dortmund and, in Germany, swiftly developed a reputation as a visionary with exquisite technique, knowledgable movement and precise passing.

However, despite his accolades, his silverware, the fervent calls for his return to Dortmund in the summer so that he could be liberated from what his erstwhile fans at Dortmund regarded to be Old Trafford shackles, he has still only gone on to record 45 minutes of competitive action on a Premier League pitch.

Moyes, though, provided Kagawa with a rare start against Real Sociedad in the Champions League on Wednesday evening's hosting of Real Sociedad and, even though he was shunted out to the left wing, his creativity and ability both on and off the ball quickly became apparent.

'I thought it was Shinji's best game in my time here,' said Moyes as quoted by the club's official website.

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'He hadn't really found his feet yet but I saw something from Shinji tonight which I hadn't seen in other games, so I was really pleased. His effort when we didn't have the ball was fantastic.

'With Shinji, everybody tells me about his ability and what he has got, but tonight is the first time I’ve really seen Shinji. I thought when we put him into the no.10 role, and even after it, he was good with Wayne. His attitude and energy were excellent and I was pleased for him.'

Kagawa's role began on the left and the 14 passes he received from Patrice Evra were the highest combination of any two Red Devils during the match. Kagawa returned the favour ten times. He also linked up with Wayne Rooney a total of 17 times.

While he played the majority of his passes out left and his position to both receive and release the ball were when we was hugging that touchline, his playmaking nous was only realised when he came into the centre, where he managed to create five chances.

image: © Marcel Sigg

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