United star: Players’ hearts were elsewhere in final games of season

Shinji Kagawa training with Manchester United - 2012

Manchester United play-maker Shinji Kagawa has revealed he and his teammates were looking ahead to the World Cup despite club matters to deal with.

Shinji Kagawa has admitted that he and his Manchester United teammates were thinking about the World Cup before the Premier League season ended.

In an interview with the Japan times, Kagawa said, “Towards the end, everyone was just getting ready for the World Cup.

“That’s where everyone’s heart was by then. We were all trying to look forward.”

That is somewhat understandable given United’s less than impressive domestic campaign. But it is also a telling statement when the side would have been expected to perform for interim boss Ryan Giggs and attempt a late surge for the final Europa League place.

Instead, United picked up seven points from the final four matches of the campaign and finished where they had spent much of the year – in seventh place.

With the World Cup around the corner, players cannot be blamed for thinking about it even when they are engaged in club commitments. But there is an element of responsibility to finish the job in hand to the best of your ability before moving on to the challenges ahead.

That said, Kagawa’s performances for United are always wholehearted and he definitely had a more prominent role in his second season at the club – even if not always in his preferred position.

But before he heads back to United, he has the not so small matter of Brazil 2014 to occupy his time, and he is hoping Japan can perform at their optimum.

“If we do well at the World Cup, everyone will take notice,” he said, “and it will pave the way to the big clubs for more Japanese players.”

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