The Ruin Of Shinji Kagawa: Manchester United

Perhaps the biggest atrocity committed by David Moyes and his 4-4-2 system has been the ruin of Shinji Kagawa.  Kagawa came to United on the back of 2 fantastic seasons at Borussia Dortmund.  He had been an integral part of the team that Klopp had built and led to the Bundesliga title in 2010/2011 season and the double title winning season of 2011/2012.  Klopp had built a complete tika-taka style side.  He had in almost every player in that side, one who was capable of keeping and moving the ball with fast short passes under pressure.  They were a complete joy to watch as they swept teams aside, Kagawa and Gotze in particular.

So it was with great excitement that I, and many other United fans, greeted the news that we would be welcoming him to Old Trafford for the 2012/2013 season.  Unfortunately, Kagawa picked up a nasty injury in his first season at United and didn’t get to see much football.  On his return from injury we saw glimpses of the class that Shinji had but Fergie had set his team up in a style that didn’t have room for Kagawa in the starting line-up at such a crucial time of the season.  United were putting a run together that saw them going for the Champions League and League titles.  Unfortunately, the infamous Nani incident saw us go out of tie that we deserved more from.  Ultimately, Fergie was content with the form of his players in the league and there was little opportunity for Shinji to impress.   Next season would be his.

Step up David Moyes.  Many readers will know full well of how much I dislike Moyes’ style of play.  It irks me even more to see players with the calibre of Shinji Kagawa on the bench and Cleverley, Valencia and Young continually played in his stead.  Kagawa is a technician, he is never going to pick up the ball and run down the wing, beating a couple of players then swing in a cross….it’s just not his game.  He wants the ball at his feet, and likes to deliver it to the feet of others.  United under Moyes just aren’t set up to do that.  As a result, Kagawa has faded into oblivion, not even making the bench on some occasions.

People who claim Kagawa has just failed to adapt to the demands of the Premiership are short-sighted.  Kagawa is an International who regularly performs in big games.  He’s performed on the European stage…the one difference has been how he is used in the Premiership games.  When Kagawa plays on the left for Japan, he does so in a very fluid and technically proficient side.  Japan play to their strengths, the reason they are able to compete with more physical teams is because they keep the ball on the ground and use it well.  Under Moyes, United have often found themselves kicking the ball long and bypassing Kagawa. Moyes’ system is to blame for Kagawa’s absence in those games.

At only 24 years of age, and having a great C.V. already behind him, Kagawa should be looking forward to the best years of his career.  Instead, he is finding himself given few opportunities to impress and when he does get a chance, it’s usually in Moyes’ useless 4-4-2 system as a winger……or being completely bypassed as they continue the predictable “get it wide” mentality if he’s playing in number 10.  I hope things change and that his future is with United, but I think he’ll be off elsewhere as “Moyes’ revolution” takes place….probably to be replaced with Tony Hibbert or someone of that ilk.