With Wayne Rooney’s revival in the number ten role and strike partnership with Robin van Persie, the former Borussia Dortmund has had to make do with seldom opportunities out of position on the wing.
Even on the flanks, Kagawa is seemingly behind the likes of Nani, Antonio Valencia and Adnan Januzaj and is obviously frustrated by his lack of playing time.
Sir Alex Ferguson bought the Asian attacker based on his star performances as a number ten for the Bundesliga side, and a role behind a lone striker is Kagawa’s preference.
However, Moyes has admitted that in the long run he sees Januzaj as playing in this role, which would further limit Kagawa’s chances to feature there.
“In time, his (Januzaj’s) best position may be no.10, but while he’s so young it’s easy to introduce him off the left or off the right,” the Scottish manager stated recently.
“He’s that talented, he can play in several positions and I’m in no hurry to play him as a no.10. I want to keep the reins on him a little bit and keep him disciplined in what he does.”
Januzaj’s emergence has been part of the reason that Kagawa has had limited opportunities, and Moyes’ comments that the teenager will play centrally in the future will come as further frustration for the Japan international.
The former Dortmund man’s future at Old Trafford looks questionable as it is, but in the long term with Januzaj additional competition for his preferable position, Kagawa’s chances of commanding a regular first-team berth looks slim.
Moyes’ reluctance to play Kagawa is strange given that the side have been lacking creativity, with the Asian attacker offering skill, deft touches and taking up good positions when he has been afforded the opportunity to play.
Obviously Rooney is in form and will continue to command the starting place as the number ten, but introducing Kagawa from the bench in the role could well be an extra attacking weapon for Moyes and United.
If the current situation persists, the Premier League champions risk losing Kagawa and his considerable technical abilities.
image: © Marcel Sigg