Shinji Kagawa and Luis Suarez are the polar opposite in terms of how they present themselves as footballers. One is reserved, respectful and respected. The other is Suarez.
Yet, they both have something in common ahead of Liverpool’s trip to Manchester on Wednesday.
“He’s really chomping at the bit to help the team,” Brendan Rodgers said on Suarez in his pre match press conference. A poor choice of phrase indeed but it is something that sums up Kagawa’s current situation too.
United’s lack of creativity in the Premier League was again exposed on Sunday at the Etihad when David Moyes chose to field Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia. They were ineffective and United’s reliance on one dimensional wing play led to little attacking threat yet Kagawa once again sat on the bench.
The 24-year-old is yet to get a run in the team due to a collection of circumstances but now everything is in place for him to get minutes on the pitch. United are out of a tough run of fixtures, he has overcome illness and has been training well – the time is right for Kagawa to get his opportunity.
Against Bayer Leverkusen, his movement was sharp despite lacking the final ball. Kagawa’s incisive movement is what makes him an exciting player – a defender doesn’t know whether he will duck inside, run around him or simply dribble it past. He is multi-dimensional and United need that. Our wingers are offering little to the side right now.
Up until this point, Moyes has played it safe with his team selections but now is the time to take risk. I would rather he took a chance with his attacking options against Liverpool and lost than have United win a mundane affair with a similar lineup and attack – Kagawa can spearhead that change.