Andy Cole believes it is only a matter of time before Shinji Kagawa shines at Manchester United and that he shouldn’t be disillusioned by the fact he hasn’t had much game time this season under David Moyes.
The midfielder only played 29 minutes of football in February for United and has found it impossible to hold down a regular starting spot, something many fans have questioned given the players who have been chosen to play in front of him.
Despite those frustrations, Cole feels Kagawa will come good this season and get the opportunities he craves.
Speaking to ManUtd, Cole said: “He is a quality player but he is not the only one who is finding it hard to get regular football. There are many top players in the squad and there is plenty of competition.
“But having seen Shinji play at Dortmund, I know for sure how good he is. He was the best player in Germany for two years. I believe he’ll come back with some good displays.”
The arrival of Juan Mata was always going to make it more difficult for Kagawa to get a regular starting spot and so it has proved but the decision to leave him out entirely from February was questionable because of how badly United were playing.
There is still time for Kagawa to have an impact this season and although Moyes has made it clear by not playing him that Kagawa isn’t one of his first choice players, Kagawa’s guile and creativity could really help United.
Moyes’ decision to use Januzaj, Mata, Rooney and Van Persie against Crystal Palace saw United play passing football which Kagawa would thrive on and given how poorly this season has gone, Moyes would be losing nothing by giving Kagawa more opportunities to prove himself at Old Trafford.
As well as remaining optimistic that Kagawa will come good, Cole believes a top four spot is a realistic target this season.
He added: “We need to win as many games as possible and a top-four finish is still a realistic target.
“For whatever reason, it has been a tough season. But all the top teams will try to get better and we need to stay with them next year.”