After having an average debut season at the Old Trafford, Shinji Kagawa is in a crucial and important phase of his career where he has to show his real worth to the team and the new manager in charge. Having been used sparingly by Sir Alex Ferguson, it will be interesting to see how Moyes will handle the Japanese International.
Any new manager will face a threat of successfully taking the club forward, and when you are replacing a man who has left behind a legacy then you must be ready to face that extra heat. Moyes showed that he has that potential, after he tactically tackled the media in his first press conference, regarding Wayne Rooney.
But it is not only about the 27-year old striker, another decisive concern is the proper use of the Japanese forward.
During his tenure of 2 years in Borussia Dortmund under the guidance of Jurgen Klopp, Kagawa netted a respectable 29 times in his 71 appearances there which prompted Ferguson to land him at Old Trafford in 2012.
In his first season at United, the midfielder scored 6 times in his 26 appearances, which is definitely low by his standard. Although, It sounds a bit odd, but when you have the option of Van Persie and Rooney in your team, who else you could think of to replace them.
So keeping that in mind, and considering the fact that he only completed 90 minutes five times in last EPL season, it is not a disastrous feat to achieve.
But his position as a substitute midfielder has caused his former coach Klopp furious and he was quoted saying:
“Shinji Kagawa is one of the best players in the world and he now plays 20 minutes at Manchester United—on the left wing.”
Now the question is how the new boss uses this Japanese offensive midfielder, who is also a potential forward line player?
Moyes now has some decision to take about the team line up as he won’t get the service of legendary Paul Scholes in the central position, so while the likes of Carrick and Cleverley and a possible new recruit operates in the midfield ahead of the defenders, what’s in stake for Kagawa? can he make use of the central attacking role just behind the forwards?
After recent interviews from the manager, it is believed that Rooney will stay at Manchester, which again creates a selection headache for him. While United have traditionally played in a 4-2-3-1 formation under Sir Alex, changing the formation immediately to deploy both Rooney and Kagawa behind Robin Van Persie could lead to adverse effects.
Considering if, RVP plays as the lone striker, with two wingers on either side, the attacking midfielder role can be divided between Rooney and Kagawa which again means lesser playing time.
So looking at the problem, one hypothetical solution Moyes has, is to use Rooney on the wings. (Yes, even Ferguson deployed Wazza on the wings before). While United have been suffering from poor performances on the Wings, Ferguson was prompted to use Welbeck and Kagawa on the left. So if Rooney can be used on the left flank, Kagawa in combination with Carrick and others can pull the string from the midfield to continue United’s traditional wing attack and precision passing from the midfield. This solves the problem of Kagawa’s poor performance from the wings and with the arrival of Zaha, Moyes will have an additional option for the wings.
Kagawa is already on his way to impress the new boss, after he trimmed his vacation and joined the Devils to get the manger’s attention.
Let’s wait and watch what will be the game plan of Moyes, and what is waiting for Kagawa? Is he destined to serve another year as a sub or will he get the chance to play in the attacking role while Rooney plays in a withdrawal position?