The real reasons why Shinji Kagawa should start tonight

by Sam Peoples

Shinji Kagawa and Adnan Januzaj are the names on the lips of every Manchester United fan for different reasons. One is an 18-year-old Belgian who has been tipped as a future superstar after a great cameo performance against Crystal Palace. The other, a ready made superstar who is yet to feature for David Moyes.

There have been plenty of genuine reasons why Kagawa hasn’t played so far – exhaustion after an extended summer and most recently the flu – but he has returned to training after a weekend of recuperation and if he has fully recovered, tonight is the perfect game to introduce him to the season.

United play Germany’s Bayer Leverkusen tonight in the UEFA Champions League curtain raiser and Kagawa played in the Bundesliga for two years. He knows how German teams play their football and in particular, he knows how to score a cracking goal against Leverkusen. Check out his fine run and finish from back in 2012 against them.


As well as Kagawa’s previous with Leverkusen, United aren’t spoilt for other options. Nani is suspended. Danny Welbeck is out with fluid on his knee while Ashley Young is in Moyes’ doghouse and Antonio Valencia continues to struggle with his form. Giggs is likely to start given his experience of Europe but Kagawa should be his partner.

Leverkusen’s tendency to leave pockets of space in front of their wing backs would give Kagawa the perfect opportunity to roam and exploit opportunities, something he did so consistently for Borussia Dortmund.

Kagawa’s name on the team sheet should not be the consequence of having no other alternatives but the circumstances of tonight’s fixture surely point towards a start for the Japanese playmaker, pending his fitness of course.

Image: AP Photo

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