Sir Alex Ferguson is confident Shinji Kagawa will enjoy a more fruitful second season as a Manchester United player than his inconsistent first, after conceding the Japan international has struggled to adapt to the rigours of the English game.
Kagawa signed for Manchester United from Borussia Dortmund in the summer transfer window having played a prominent role in a German league and cup double success, but his form has not been translated this term.
The 23-year-old has struggled with injury during his time at Old Trafford, having only recently returned from a 10 week layoff following a knee complaint, which has contributed to an unremarkable maiden campaign with Manchester United.
Kagawa, though, showed promise in last week's encounter with Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, with the forward producing a relatively threatening performance in an advanced attacking role before being replaced by Ryan Giggs.
It was a display that pleased the Manchester United manager, who expects an extended run of matches for Kagawa in the final months of the season will harden the Japanese in preparation for 2013/14.
"The difference between German and English football is that in Germany you can’t foul," Ferguson said, as reported by The Telegraph.
"You are not allowed to touch anyone in Germany, so he [Kagawa] has come from that environment to the Premier League which is totally different.
"There is a physicality to our game which is different from Germany, but next year he’ll be better. I thought in the first half-hour [against Real] he was terrific and he was making some great runs through them."