Shinji Kagawa failed to meet the desires of Louis van Gaal on the pre-season tour and it has cast further doubt over his future at Manchester United.
The Japanese midfielder, 25, is yet to feature for Van Gaal in a competitive fixture and with the likes of Juan Mata, Adnan Januzaj and potentially Angel di Maria ahead of him in the pecking order, Kagawa faces an uphill struggle to get any game time.
“I tried to play Kagawa in a deeper midfield role in the United States. But he could not fulfil my wishes,” Van Gaal said after the Sunderland game.
Van Gaal’s attempts to play Kagawa in a deeper role stem from the fact United have four No.10’s who all want to play in the same position and he wanted to mould him into a player with more versatility.
“I know him from Borussia Dortmund and he played in the No. 10 position,” Van Gaal explained whilst on tour.
“I wanted to try him in the No. 6 or No. 8 position in our system in the first two matches, and then I also gave him a chance at No. 10 because he wanted to play in that position. He did it much better than in the two matches before.”
However, Van Gaal was unimpressed with Kagawa, which is not altogether surprising given it is a role the playmaker doesn’t have much experience in.
Kagawa’s lack of versatility harmed his chances under David Moyes and it looks like it will have the same consequence under Van Gaal, so unless he can improve and better himself around the pitch and not just in his favoured No.10 role, his place at United is under threat.