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.”