Shinji Kagawa has played only 45 minutes of Premier League football this season. Image: Mirror

Shinji Kagawa has played only 45 minutes of Premier League football this season. Image: Mirror

When Shinji Kagawa was first signed by Manchester United, there were some who criticized the deal as being one that’s made for the wrong reasons – tapping in to the Japanese market instead of actually bringing someone who will improve the team. Under David Moyes, giving Kagawa only 45 minutes of playing time so far this season, that sentiment seems to be quite true.

Should a manager stick to certain tactics regardless of his players, or should he change them to accommodate the best possible team he can field? For now, Moyes is playing something of a 4-4-2, although the numbers really don’t matter. He’s using two wingers and two forwards, with one of them, Wayne Rooney, dropping backwards to become something of an attacking midfielder at times.

Shinji Kagawa? He doesn’t fit the system right now. Moyes used him only once, in a position it’s impossible for him to succeed in. Kagawa has played on the left before, but as a winger he’s useless. There’s no problem with him being a wide attacking midfielder, as Alex Ferguson used him as last season from time to time, when he wasn’t injured or playing behind the strikers.

In any case, Kagawa, the best Japanese player right now who was a huge part of Dortmund’s two consecutive league titles, is being misused, and probably mistreated, while David Moyes prefers using more traditional wingers to aid his cause of erasing the bad impression from a terrible start. Despite the criticism, he’s not too inclined to use Kagawa as part of his salvaging plan, which is quite frustrating to the Japanese international.

There’s a matter of fitness and there’s also that atmosphere of playing for my country. It’s different from the atmosphere at United, but you still get a good feel for being on the pitch when you play regularly. Maybe it’s because I’m not used to being on the pitch of late, but I didn’t feel like I was able to enter these two games properly. During tough times like these I have to improve myself.

More than two months into the new season, Kagawa has played four times for Manchester United this season: A 45-minute league appearance, a 7-minute Community shield cameo, one successful start in the Champions League and another so-so start against Liverpool in the League Cup.