Shinji Kagawa may not have a hand in his own future

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As far as i've heard over the past couple of months, thousands have been calling for Shinji Kagawa to quit life at Manchester United and move back to his former club: Borussia Dortmund.

There was even an internet campaign started in order to pursue this end: #freeshinji.

While there can be few doubts that Kagawa is truly a great player in every sense of the word, right now he should be more worried about getting shipped off himself than choosing to quit.

He has, put simply, not been good enough for Manchester United this season. True, he hasn't been given a lot  of game time, but the time has come to stop blaming his performances on lack of game time and start blaming his lack of game time on poor performances.

Kagawa used to be one of the most dynamic players in the world. He was a midfield maestro in the truest sense of the term. He could not only gallop up the field and create chances on the attacking end, but was selfless enough to come back and lend a hand when the Dortmund defence flailed (although his tackling wasn't much better than that of Paul Scholes).

He was also an abnormally prolific goalscorer, netting an impressive 21 times over the course of the 2011/12 season for club and country from midfield. Overall in 45 appearances, he had a direct hand in 31 goals - not to shabby!

When he came to United, he was expected to be the new jewel in the Red Devils' crown. Sure, a few fans questioned his signing as being a marketing gimmick but even those fans would have had to concede to his brilliance with the ball at his feet. So then where did it go wrong for the former Bundesliga Player of The Year?

To me it seems that people are still trying to find that out.

The fact that he has been shunted out onto the left wing makes up the core of the underperformance argument. While there is evidence backing up such a view, Kagawa more than frequently took the left wing role with Dortmund and continues to with Japan to great effect. He is so dynamic-a-player that he has no problem beating defenders or playing a killer ball from the halfway line. So then, what is the problem?

My hunch is that he is having a bit of a confidence crisis. He is a world class player but he seems to have forgotten that point himself. He has accepted his bench role and his self esteem has fallen.

You rarely see him play the type of risky killer ball that characterised his Dortmund career.

Kagawa needs his confidence built back up. He needs goals and assists. He needs to feel like a valued member of the team again. Otherwise, his departure might not be his decision.

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Shinji Kagawa
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