Having questioned why he hasn't been playing and having received a forceful backing from the so called experts on social media sites, Shinji Kagawa returned to full first-team action in the Champions League last night.

The result - a distinctly unimpressive performance that resulted in a second half substitution, David Moyes is vindicated with his unease over the playmaker.

I would like to point out that it wasn't just Moyes who held back on making Kagawa a starter, Sir Alex Ferguson was just as sceptical, although, funnily enough, fewer fans were prepared to question one of the greatest managers of all-time.  

The most vociferous of Kagawa fans will point to his injury as factor in his performance, a crippling injury that could end many a career - flu.

Before people get wound up and throw objects at the screen, it's clear that Kagawa is a good player.

He has a creative spark, speed and an eye for goal as shown when he became the first Asian to score a Premier League hat-trick last season against Norwich City.

However there are too many hurdles that will prevent the 24-year-old from having a successful run at Old Trafford.

The first and perhaps the most important problem is his teammate, Robin van Persie.

The Dutchman's arrival is perhaps the worst thing that could have happened to the former Borussia Dortmund star.

When Kagawa was signed, Wayne Rooney was playing as a centre forward and at that point of summer there was a need for someone to slot in behind him.

Van Persie wasn't that man.

But Van Persie was the man that pushed Rooney deeper, something that has ensured the England star a new lease of life.

The world class Rooney has made that position his own, theres certainly nobody in the Premier League that can rival his quality in that position, certainly not Kagawa.

So this leaves the 48 cap Japan international with a problem.

There'll be no displacing Rooney so he must play wider where the competition may still be strong but there are no irreplaceable players in that department.

I think he lacks the physicality to play out wide, he gets muscled out easily and doesn't look capable of winning a grapple with a good old fashioned Premier League full-back.

Of course he could out-think most old fashioned defenders but thats not necessarily the United way.

Rooney is the one who is there to link up with RVP on the ground with through balls and trickery, the wingers at Old Trafford are there to mix it up at put it on the Dutchman's very capable head.

Look at players like Antonio Valencia, Luis Nani, Ryan Giggs and even Ashley Young, they have established themselves as fairly regular United picks in the Van Persie era through doing that.

Kagawa unfortunately, doesn't have the same delivery as any of those either. So while none are irreplaceable on the wings, Kagawa is not the winger to follow in the steps of Ronaldo.

It will only work for Kagawa in the central positions, like similarly built players in England; David Silva, Mesut Ozil, Juan Mata and Coutinho.

But at Old Trafford, only injuries will hand the World Cup hopeful the regular run in the team that he demands.

I think The Red Devils should look at cashing in, they would be better off finding that sort of amazing winger that they have missed since Ronaldo.

The directors will probably not want that to happen though.

Part of the reason they signed him will have been for Asian marketing aims; shirt sales and television deals.

Therefore I fear that his progress will halt as a result, which will be a shame for him, the club and his numerous social media followers.

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Topics:
#Manchester United
#Shinji Kagawa
#Premier League
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