Shinji Kagawa must finally prove himself at Manchester United

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Manchester United's Japanese playmaker Shinji Kagawa has just not reached the heights expected of him throughout his opening two seasons at Old Trafford. 

In the 2011/12 campaign, as Borussia Dortmund pipped German giants Bayern Munich to a famous double in Germany, Kagawa was one of the club's leading stars, and proved almost unstoppable playing off the striker. 

At Manchester United, however, Kagawa has looked a shadow of the player that dominated German football. 

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In his debut season, except for a hat-trick against Norwich City, the Japanese ace failed to impress, but his potential was certainly there for all to see. Quickly becoming a fans' favourite at the Theatre of Dreams, despite his inconsistencies, many expected him to push on under David Moyes last term. Kagawa, once again, was unable to step up for the Red Devils. 

And now, as United enter another new era, the 25-year-old will be looking to impress his third coach in the same number of years. This time, under Louis van Gaal, Kagawa must prove his credentials. 

Unsurprisingly, as the Red Devils prepare for the 2014/15 season, Kagawa has insisted that he's looking forward to a fresh start. 

As reported by the Manchester Evening News, Kagawa said:  "I feel incredibly excited.

"It’s a new start and I feel re-energised. It’s up to the players to get the results we need. I have a strong desire to do well.

"I’ll look more closely at my game and accept the challenge filled with passion."

These comments, however, seem rather similar to previous statements made by the United man. Before the start of last season, as United went in search of glory under David Moyes, Kagawa said: "I always think that I must play well. And I always have an image in my mind of how I want to play, wherever the position.

“Whenever there is a tough time, whenever it gets difficult for me, I just train and look ahead to the future.”


Kagawa talked the talk last summer, just like he has done in this one, but now is really time for him to prove that he's good enough for Manchester United. His difficult year continued in this summer's World Cup, as he was even dropped from the Japanese starting XI at one stage in the tournament 

It certainly won't be easy for Kagawa to finally make an impact at the Theatre of Dreams. United have an array of talent in the attacking positions, and every United player will be looking to impress their new boss. 

Can Kagawa really knock the likes of Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata out of the side? He may have even less of an opportunity to shine this season, as the club failed to qualify for Europe last term. 

Can he do it?

However, as the season progresses, Kagawa will be handed opportunities, but he can't fail again. But, he must improve his game quickly. He's an intelligent footballer, so must start playing to his strengths. 

He must use the runs of Rooney, Van Persie and Co. to create space, and needs to show his attacking intent as soon as he picks up the ball. Kagawa must, however, improve upon his weaknesses: he must develop physically, and stop getting lost in matches. When he's struggling, he can't hide, so must step-up in every sense under Van Gaal. 

If he does struggle next season, then the playmaker United fans so desperately want to see succeed, will be on his way out of Old Trafford. Over to you, Shinji. 

Manchester United fans: Do you still have faith in Kagawa? Have your say below!

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