Big things were expected of Shinji Kagawa following his £12 million move to Manchester United in June 2012.
The Japan international played a starring role for Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund in their back-to-back title-winning campaigns of 2010-11 and 2011-12 and was expected to add some much-needed creativity to Sir Alex Ferguson’s starting line-up.
However, Kagawa struggled during his two-year spell at Old Trafford - under Ferguson, David Moyes and, briefly, Louis van Gaal - and in August 2014, two years following his arrival in England, Kagawa found himself back at Signal Iduna Park after a £6.3 million fee was agreed between the two clubs.
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The playmaker has rediscovered his form and confidence with BVB, now managed by the impressive Thomas Tuchel, and admits he “didn’t perform” his best at Old Trafford during an interview with FourFourTwo.
Asked if he’d do anything differently at United, Kagawa responded: “Fight more, every day – even a small player like me should fight every day to succeed at a club like Manchester United and it’s the same now at Dortmund.
“I just have to focus on how I can get better every day to try to succeed at this level. Of course, you also have to be mentally strong.”
Kagawa grateful for Man Utd experience
Despite the fact he failed to show his class on a consistent basis in England, Kagawa insists his experience with the Red Devils helped him develop both as a player and as an individual.
“I was still young, just 24 or 25,” he continued. “I had a lot of experiences there and that helped me grow, and looking back I wasn’t concerned about anything, just focusing on doing the best I could.
“Of course there were good players there but everyone thinks differently; the Dortmund coach is the Dortmund coach, and the Manchester United coach is the Manchester United coach, and I just have to accept how everything went.”
Kagawa pleased for Shinji Okazaki
In 57 appearances for the Red Devils, Kagawa scored an underwhelming six goals.
However, he did become the first player from Japan to win a Premier League winners’ medal.
Shinji Okazaki became the second with Leicester City earlier this month and Kagawa is delighted to see his compatriot shining in England’s top division.
“It’s a different case to me as I didn’t perform at my best at Manchester United,” Kagawa added. “But what he has done being so heavily involved is fantastic, he was a big player for that team. Of course I want to play against him in the Champions League now!”
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