There was a little bit of uncertainty over how Shinji Kagawa would deal with life at Manchester United after joining the club from Germany champions Borussia Dortmund. He surprised many with a brilliant start to the season with hints of how Paul Scholes used to play, and still does, at his very best.
Kagawa was injured playing in early Champions League group match and Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that Kagawa will be out of action until around Christmas time. United have been plagued by injuries since the start of the season to key players but they have shown a great ability to adapt this season and they are second in the Premier League and already through to the knock out stages of the Champions League.
The main reason this bad news is a blow to the club is because Kagawa can be the key play maker, the player that everything goes through in the United side. He looks like a Barcelona type player in the respect that he is always on the move, always looking for the ball and can see a ridiculously difficult pass when it seems like the easy option is to pass the ball backwards.
Fortunately for United they have cover in Tom Cleverley and have been able to rotate Scholes with fellow United veteran Ryan Giggs. The news just lengthens the amount of time for this season that United will have to go without being able to name their best eleven players on a weekly basis.
Anderson is another player who has been crying out to play the Kagawa type role in the United team but he simply isn’t as effective as the Japanese midfield maestro. Kagawa has played six games in the league this season with two goals and one assist. These figures would have been substantially amplified had he been fit and a first choice pick in the United midfield.
The one thing United and Ferguson have to do is resist the urge to get him back into training and into the team as quickly as possible. The recent injuries to Nemanja Vidic have shown that the club does not want to risk rushing back any player because it could ultimately mean a long spell out of action if the injury reoccurs or is made worse by premature selection back into the United team.
Kagawa’s fitness would also go a long way to banishing recent reports in the media that the club are looking at bringing in another similar type player to take the Paul Scholes role in the side. Probably the only reason Kagawa hasn’t been able to make it his job to replace the great man is his lack of physical size and aggression. However, these are problems that Sir Alex Ferguson will be happy to have.
United fans just need to sit and wait. Kagawa has the potential to be very special and he will come back fresh during the Christmas period where the games are piling up left, right and centre.
image: © Marcel Sigg