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Kagawa: I didn’t achieve what I wanted in first season at United

Shinji Kagawa’s first season at United didn’t go as well as anyone expected, particularly after he had reached great heights whilst playing for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga.

He picked up a lengthy injury early on in the season and after that spent any playing time he did get out of position, mainly on the left. His manager at Dortmund, Jurgen Klopp, claimed it broke his heart to see United fail to use Kagawa properly.

“Shinji Kagawa is one of the best players in the world and he now plays 20 minutes at Manchester United – on the left wing! My heart breaks. Really, I have tears in my eyes,” Klopp said. “Central midfield is Shinji’s best role. He’s an offensive midfielder with one of the best noses for goal I ever saw. But for most Japanese people it means more to play for Man United than Dortmund. We cried for 20 minutes, in each others’ arms, when he left.”

Kagawa isn’t make any excuses for himself though and is his own biggest critic and, despite winning the league, is not happy with his contribution so far.

“It was a tough time for me with a lot going on in my head,” Kagawa said. “I am not happy with my performance for the team at all. I didn’t score that much and I also had my injury. Despite that, it was great we won the league – I just don’t feel that I achieved everything that I wanted. For me personally, it wasn’t a good season. 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.”

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. sussexred says:

    Good to see a player win the league and call it a bad season. Always hard adjusting to a new league, especially when injuries hamper progress. Barely speaking English can’t help either.

    Onwards and upwards to number 21!

  2. George says:

    Don’t worry Shinji. You played well enough. First season in a new league is allways difficult!

  3. King Eric says:

    I thought he did just fine in his first season. He’ll be top drawer next season. As for playing out left funny when he plays for Japan he’s out left but has license to roam.

  4. King Eric says:

    Those comments from Klopp were cringeworthy. Cried on each other’s arms for 20 minutes. Yeah OK. What I love about Shinji aside from his obvious talent is he’s a proper pro. Never happy with himself and always wanting to improve. Great lad.

  5. bruce thomas says:

    Thatt’s alright Shinji mate, Rooney didn’t achieve what any of us wanted last season.

  6. AlphaRS says:

    Move over Roo. Here we have someone who actually wants to play for United.

  7. NBI Red Onion says:

    There you go, he is a centre MF to all people saying he played as second striker.

    Hope Thiago does not mess with that if he arrives, how will they fit.

  8. Mr C says:

    Shinji’s a great player coming through. Just give him a little more time and a few rounds of pie and chips….

  9. Greek (MU)djahiddin says:

    He had a below average season, probably because he might have played in the wrong position as Klopp’s comments suggest. He needs to improve dramatically next season if he is to make any impact at United. The positive side is that he knows it.

  10. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Below average? I don’t think so. He had injuries and needed to adapt, dip in performances was expected but shinji has high demands of himself and accepted things didn’t go as planned. Next season, he’ll be more influential for united.

  11. domunited says:

    I rate new players over the span of two years because you either have “tough to adjust syndrome” , a “sophomore slump” , or even injuries. If he improves on last year and can get more games, I’ll be a happy man – Kagawabunga just oozes class.

    And Klopp, please be more dramatic, please. Good lord, I always hate reading that quote. “Crying” – bugger off muh dude.


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