Manchester United manager David Moyes declared that Shinji Kagawa’s performance during the 1-0 win over Real Sociedad in the UEFA Champions League was the best he has seen from the Japanese international. Kagawa has made only four competitive starts since Moyes took over United, but the attacking midfielder played the entirety of Wednesday’s game at Old Trafford and produced a determined performance on the left flank of United’s attack.
“I thought he was really good. His effort when we didn’t have the ball was fantastic,” Moyes told reporters after the game. “Everybody tells me about his abilities and what he’s got and tonight (Wednesday) was the first time I’d really seen Shinji,” Moyes added. “I thought he played really well tonight,” concluded the Red Devil’s new manager, who is currently in some sort of a hot seat because of the club’s deteriorating form in the English Premier League. But it seems that Moyes and United are finding a bit of form in Europe, and Kagawa’s performance against their Group A Spanish opposition just highlighted United’s different form in the Champions League.
Kagawa was even granted a little bit of time in his preferred no. 10 position, following the 80th-minute substitution of Javier Hernandez, and Moyes says he is belatedly beginning to appreciate the 24-year-old’s qualities. “I thought when we put him into the number 10 role, he was very good with Wayne Rooney, and even off the left tonight,” Moyes said. “His attitude and his energy was excellent and I was pleased for Shinji. As I said, that was the best I’d seen him play since I’ve taken over.” In retrospect, it seems that Kagawa is going to have to pile on more performances like this if he wants to cement his place in the United starting eleven. Rooney is doing him no favors when he is in the form of his life, and is making the withdrawn striker-attacking midfielder position his own. But Kagawa also plays off the left with the Samurai Blue, and even Moyes noticed that. A few more performances like this and Kagawa is sure to give his new manager a good kind of selection headache.