He may spend more time warming the bench than actually playing on the pitch as of late, but Manchester United and Japanese international midfielder Shinji Kagawa believes that the upcoming friendly between Japan and New Zealand may be his chance to prove that he can still play with the best of them. This game is the Samurai Blue’s first step in preparing for the upcoming World Cup this June in Brazil.
The squad named by coach Alberto Zaccheroni for the friendly on Wednesday is almost at full strength and Kagawa is looking forward to taking his frustrations out on this match, as per his interview with the Japan Times. He said he can’t change the fact that he’s hardly seen any playing time in England, and so he’d just like to “turn it into something positive” and do his best against the All Whites. He also understands that it is important for a football player to keep on playing, especially as Japan prepares to play for the World Cup in 100 days, but he knows it is something he won’t be able to do until he can prove to his manager that he can deliver results.
Japan, ranked 50 in the FIFA standings, will be facing the 89th-ranked New Zealand and Zaccheroni believes it will be a good challenge for the Samurai Blue as they are a mostly physical team. Some of the superstars that will be in Japan’s squad in the friendly are Standard Liege goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima, Inter Milan defender Yuto Nagatomo, Stuttgart defender Gotoku Sakai and AC Milan midfielder Keisuke Honda. They will be without their captain Makoto Hasebe and defender Atsuto Uchida, who are both recovering from injuries.
[ via MSN ]