Kagawa eyes NZ as chance to prove himself

Playmaker Shinji Kagawa wants to turn his lack of opportunity at English giants Manchester United into a positive in Japan’s international friendly against New Zealand in Tokyo.


Kagawa has been included in a powerful Japanese squad preparing for Wednesday’s game, which is the first step in their preparation for the World Cup in Brazil.

The 24-year-old has barely featured for Manchester United since David Moyes succeeded Alex Ferguson as manager this season.

Attacking midfielder Kagawa has started just seven of 27 Premier League games and completed 90 minutes only twice.

The former Borussia Dortmund star told The Japan Times that he planned to take any frustration out on the All Whites.

“I can’t change the situation I’m in, so to I want to turn it into something positive and do well (against NZ),” he said.

“Of course it is important for a player to continue getting games but that is something that I won’t be able to gain unless I am delivering results.”

Kagawa was encouraged by world No.50 ranked Japan’s most recent results, in Europe last November when they drew 2-2 with the Netherlands and beat Belgium 3-2.

Coach Alberto Zaccheroni has gathered a strong squad to face the 89th-ranked New Zealand.

Four European-based players – Standard Liege goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima, Inter Milan defender Yuto Nagatomo, Stuttgart defender Gotoku Sakai and AC Milan midfielder Keisuke Honda were to arrive in Tokyo on Tuesday.

Injury has robbed them of captain Makoto Hasebe and another German-based defender Atsuto Uchida.

Zaccheroni says the game is important as they hone their focus on the World Cup starting in three months. Their group opponents are Greece, Ivory Coast and Colombia.

“New Zealand are a physical team and will be good opponents,” he told Kyodo news agency.

“I want to check on all the things we have been doing over the last three years.”