Revealed: What Kagawa is willing to do to secure first-team role

The creative midfielder, who has threatened to flourish of late, is desperate to break into the Manchester United first choice XI.

Even though he is yet to hold down a regular first team role, playing just 400 minutes of Premier League football thus far this season (31% of that available to him), Shinji Kagawa has become one of the players Manchester United fans look forward to seeing most when he's named as a starter.

The Japan international, 24, has completed 86% of his passes in domestic league action this season, won over 80% of his attempted tackles and creates a goal-scoring opportunity every 100 minutes. However, there is an indication he is capable of far more due to the link-up play he has exhibited with his midfield team-mates whenever he features.

Kagawa himself is desperate to do what he can in order to gain favour in David Moyes' selection - and stay there. And that includes a trait former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson held dear; the ability to occupy multiple positions and to have tactical variety.

In his latest quotes, lifted from the official match-day programme and quoted by the club's official website, Kagawa reminded readers of his multi-positional nous: 'I played behind the main striker at Dortmund but I usually play on the left with Japan, and I also took this role at Cerezo Osaka.

'I have some experience out wide but I think I should be flexible enough to play in a number of roles, so I'm a more attractive player to the team and can contribute even more. Every day I'm learning how to trouble my opponents on the left, how best to cause them problems with my movement, but I'd still like to be capable of taking up more positions.'

With Wayne Rooney suspended for United's upcoming clash against Newcastle United having picked up his fifth cautionary yellow against erstwhile employer Everton, and the perpetual dubious nature over Robin van Persie's return date, that flexibility that Kagawa speaks of may become crucial versus the Magpies on Saturday as Moyes may field him in the hole.

image: © Marcel Sigg

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch