Shinji Kagawa has not enjoyed life at Manchester United as much as he should have for a luxury player, due to no fault of his own.
His attitude was a beacon of light upon arrival at Manchester United, stating he was to turn down the iconic number seven shirt in order to 'earn' the right to wear it. Antonio Valencia took the shirt and has since relinquished it.
Kagawa's problem has been threefold at United. His first problem is attaining playing time. He hasn't had a good consecutive run at United, which is perplexing with David Moyes coming under criticism for not starting him enough and under fire for United's recent results.
Many managers understand that if the fans of a below-par form team want a certain player or players to feature more often, an easy way to offload pressure and make fans happy is to submit that player or players onto the upcoming team sheets more often.
When Kagawa started against West Brom things were looking relatively good, combination play with Javier Hernandez, Nani and Wayne Rooney looking fruitful and indeed a few close chances occurred in the first half, with the second half looking almost certain for goals.
What happened next, a half time substitute with Kagawa coming off for Adnan Januzaj, led many watching the game at Old Trafford to assume Kagawa had picked up an injury. A very strange decision from Moyes.
Kagawa needs consecutive 90 minute displays in order to prime himself for a regular starting spot or prove apparent doubts that Moyes may have regarding the true ability of Kagawa.
Secondly, Kagawa has been featuring on the left wing and often has found himself fighting an in-game battle to move more centrally, with Rooney usually already there. Kagawa's natural position is centrally behind the strike force, his talent is partially wasted anywhere else and for a player of such talent, he shouldn't have to put up with being played out of position.
A third factor that many have overlooked when criticizing United performances this season so far is that Kagawa has still had little chance to gel with his teammates, and when he has featured, he has often been in starting line-ups that have differed from the last line-up he was involved in.
Moyes can only start to progress this season by committing to an XI and fielding it with a view of playing that team for 90 minutes, week in week out, where possible. His 'give everyone a chance' motto isn't working, is why pre-seasons are valuable and is only diminishing confidence and routine at United at a time where it is needed most. Rotation should only be to protect the old-guard at this stage of the season.
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