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Manchester United: What Role Shinji Kagawa Will Play for the Red Devils?

Kagawa playing during the Community Shield, his last appearance for United.
Kagawa playing during the Community Shield, his last appearance for United.Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Jake NisseFeatured ColumnistSeptember 11, 2013

Shinji Kagawa is currently in quite the predicament.

Despite an injured Wayne Rooney, a weak stable of wingers and amazing technical ability, the Japanese international has played a grand total of zero minutes of EPL action.

Kagawa is in an awkward situation because despite seemingly having to prove himself to Moyes to earn playing time, he is not receiving the opportunity to do so.

Rather, Moyes is benching the attacking midfielder based on nothing but maybe his slight frame. With a need for a creative player in the XI with Rooney's absence, Moyes is showing Ferguson-like stubbornness in sticking to his current side. The benching of a player is fair in response to poor performances, but Kagawa has had none of those so far and should be given at least a chance to prove himself after starting 17 EPL games in the previous season.

In fact, it could even be argued that Kagawa shouldn't have to prove himself at all, as he is debatably a world-class player and ended last season as an integral part of Sir Alex's squad.

This year, however, in Moyes' side, Kagawa is nothing more than an irrelevant substitute, extremely frustrated with his lack of playing time.

That irrelevance has not carried over to Europe's other leagues, however, as The Express reports that Atletico Madrid and former club Borussia Dortmund are interested in bringing Kagawa over to Spain and Germany, respectively.

Even with no impact for Manchester United this season, Atletico and Dortmund already know something that Moyes has failed to realize thus far: Kagawa is a great player.

Based on his previous coaching decisions, it seems unlikely that Moyes will put an end to his stubborn attitude anytime soon as he only started 17 different outfield players last season for Everton.

Sir Alex, meanwhile, still kept a consistent XI for the most part but started 22 different outfield players and tried to squeeze the most out of his players. One could argue that Ferguson had more squad depth at his disposal, but Moyes now possesses that same depth and is continuing his stingy ways.

So, what role will Kagawa play for the club?

It can go one of two ways.

First, Kagawa becomes an integral part of the squad like he was last year. He starts a decent amount of games and is otherwise one of the first players off the bench (this is not true right now, as Nani and Javier Hernandez appeared instead of him vs. Liverpool).

This scenario would require a little bit of patience from Kagawa, who would probably have to appear in a couple of substitute cameos before Moyes trusted him as a starter.

Kagawa absolutely should be playing right now, but it seems it will take longer for Moyes to realize that, if he ever does.

The second scenario would show no change to what is happening now, as Moyes would continue to ignore Kagawa's talents. This would likely make Kagawa's role at the club nonexistent and an ex-United player by the January transfer window.

Sky Sports reported that Kagawa was frustrated with his lack of playing time and rightfully so—he is a very talented player.

Fox News also quoted Kagawa as saying "Please ask David Moyes why I'm not in the side" to the Japanese media after a match with his national side.

It is clear that Kagawa is upset with Moyes, and with this quote he seems to be giving Moyes a sort of ultimatum to put him in the side or face his departure.

Moyes needs to make room for the uber-talented Kagawa in the team.

If not, he may be wearing black and yellow again come January.


(All stats and info via ESPNFC)

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