With only a few days remaining until the Confederations Cup, all eyes are on Shinji Kagawa. The Manchester United midfielder is expected to help the Japan side, which is set to play an opening game against defending champion Brazil, a team Japan is yet to defeat, this Saturday. Albeit missing two months of play because of knee injury sustained during the Champions League, Kagawa expects nothing less of himself.
“I wasn’t satisfied with my overall performance but I played well in the second half of the season and started to get more and more confidence,” admitted Kagawa, who finished with six goals this season in the Premier League. The 24-year old footballer is determined to brace up in Brazil this month. “Hopefully, I can keep that going at the Confederations Cup.” After Brazil, Japan will be playing against Italy and Mexico, respectively, in Group A of the Confederations Cup.
Keisuke Honda, who secured Japan’s bid to the World Cup next year, also in Brazil, and Yuto Nagatomo will also be in the limelight. Both, after sustaining injuries, will be joining Japan’s campaign in Brazil. Securing a spot in the starting eleven will also be a competition. Though team selection and which position to play, once chosen, depend on Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni, Kagawa is well aware of his need to bring “results” for the team. “In this business, you need to be like (Wayne) Rooney or (Robin) van Persie and prove yourself if you want the ball,” Kagawa revealed.
CSKA Moscow midfielder Honda and Inter Milan defender Nagatomo both have more caps than Kagawa, but the latter is seen to have potential helping the Samurai Blue. Before coming to the Old Trafford, Shinji Kagawa played for Borussia Dortmund with 21 goals in two seasons, not to mention back to back Bundesliga championships. Even former ManU Manager Sir Alex Ferguson commended the 24-year old midfielder. “He is gradually getting his form back but next year he will be far better. You will see a really good player then.”