Manchester United forward Shinji Kagawa pulls out of Japan international just before kick-off


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The Independent Football

Manchester United forward Shinji Kagawa pulled out of Japan's World Cup qualifier today, just an hour before kick-off against Iraq.

The playmaker, who signed for United this summer in a deal understood to be worth around £15m, felt a twinge in his lower back according to the Japan Football Association.

Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni decided not to risk Kagawa in the Group B qualifier, but was able to include him among his substitutes.

The news comes after Kagawa received a public dressing down by his coach during Japan's last match, a worryingly narrow 1-0 victory over UAE.

The former Borrusia Dortmund player was hauled off at half-time by his coach for showboating, with his final attempted step-over before the half-time whistle seeing him fall flat on his back.

It is unclear at this stage how serious the injury is, although United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will be concerned with his side due to play Wigan on Satuday in the Premier League. United play again next Wednesday in their opening Champions League match, at home to Galatasaray.