Shinji Kagawa is desperate to prove himself after a failed stint with Manchester United, says Borussia Dortmund colleague Neven Subotic, and Tuesday’s encounter against Arsenal will be an ideal platform from which to do so.
Manchester United departure
Kagawa left Manchester United on the final day of the transfer window for a fee of €8 million having been unable to replicate the form that had seen Sir Alex Ferguson recruit him from Dortmund two summers previously.
The 25-year-old, whose role has taken on an even greater importance following injury to Marco Reus, impressed on his second debut for the club at the weekend, scoring once and providing another in the Bundesliga victory over Freiburg.
Arsenal should, in theory, provide a far sterner test when the two clubs meet at the Westfalenstadion in their Champions League opener, and Kagawa will be keen to lay his Manchester United demons to rest against English opposition.
His performance against Freiburg certainly suggested he is capable of reproducing his best under the tutelage of Jurgen Klopp once again, and Subotic is confident the Japan international will continue to make an impact as the season progresses.
Point to prove
“Shinji is hungry to prove his worth and play regularly again. In training he’s been great and determined and showed it against Freiburg,” Subotic told the Evening Standard. “We all know he wants to do it.
“When he left for English football two years ago I wished him all the best and didn’t question whether he was going to make it there or not.
“He has a lot of quality and I don’t know why he didn’t make the breakthrough at Manchester United. It could be put down to a number of factors. The coach changed a few times and that can be tough, I have experienced that with the national team.
“The most important thing is that he’s at our club now and when somebody feels good, he will play better and Shinji has already shown that with a wonderful display against Freiburg.”
Kagawa’s failure to make an impact with Manchester United is something of an anomaly, with Sir Alex Ferguson himself conceding that the club really ought to have been able to get more out of the player during his two seasons at Old Trafford.
He was perhaps fairly expected to hit the ground running after joining the club given the way he had performed for BVB over the two previous seasons, but injury restricted him to only 26 appearances during his maiden campaign in Manchester.
Had Ferguson remained in his position it would have been interesting to see how his approach to Kagawa would have differed to that of David Moyes, who clearly did not really fancy the attacking midfielder.
Neither, it would, appear did Louis van Gaal, who was willing to allow Kagawa to leave for what, on the face of it, seems like quite the bargain. It shouldn’t take Kagawa long to prove just what a snip it was.