Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand impressed by new signing Shinji Kagawa

 

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is backing Japan international Shinji Kagawa to be a big hit in the Barclays Premier League.

The 23-year-old former Borussia Dortmund midfielder, currently in China with the rest of the United squad, has already impressed his new team-mates.

Ferdinand said: "I've been very, very impressed. I'd seen him play for Dortmund on TV and I looked on YouTube.

"He's been fantastic. He's quick, he's sharp, he has great awareness, he plays off both feet. I'm excited about playing with him and getting the season started.

"He's been one of the better players in Germany for the last few years. I think he will bring that form to Manchester United. I think he'll be a great acquisition."

Kagawa arrived at Old Trafford on a four-year deal last month and has taken little time to adapt to his new surroundings.

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been delighted with how quickly he has got to grips with life at his new club despite not yet having a grasp of English.

The Scot told a press conference in Shanghai: "The thing that's quite impressed me is that every exercise we do on the training ground, he's never needed it to be explained.

"After one demonstration, he joins in as if he's known the language forever. Of course, we know he doesn't speak the language, but it isn't a problem.

"It just goes to show that a good footballer can pick up exactly what's needed. He's been fantastic in that respect. I've been quite surprised at that."

Kagawa and his team-mates will play their latest pre-season friendly on Wednesday when they take on Shanghai Shenhua, the latest destination for Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba.

The Chinese game is proving a lucrative market for big-name players approaching the end of their careers, although England defender Ferdinand has insisted it is not yet on his horizon.

He said: "I think when you get to my age, if you look too far ahead, your legs can get taken beneath you.

"All I'm interested in is playing for United. It's what I enjoy.

"Pre-season began well. I'm just thinking about this season and playing for Manchester United. I'm obviously very happy here and not looking at going anywhere else."

Meanwhile, Ferguson admitted finding a long-term replacement for 37-year-old midfielder Paul Scholes, who came out of retirement last season to star for United once again, is an ongoing concern with illness preventing Darren Fletcher from staking his own claim.

Ferguson said: "Darren has a medical situation that he's trying hard to keep under control. We don't expect him back immediately, but hopefully he does come back at some point.

"Paul Scholes a year ago was coaching my reserves - now he's back playing, and everybody attached to United is delighted. He's such a fantastic player.

"In the long-term, trying to replace Scholes is very difficult. To replace a great player like him would be hard for anyone."

PA

Arts and Entertainment
Joe Cocker performing on the Stravinski hall stage during the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland in 2002
musicHe 'turned my song into an anthem', says former Beatle
News
Clarke Carlisle
sport
Sport
footballStoke City vs Chelsea match report
Arts and Entertainment
theatreThe US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
News
Coca-Cola has become one of the largest companies in the world to push staff towards switching off their voicemails, in a move intended to streamline operations and boost productivity
peopleCoca-Cola staff urged to switch it off to boost productivity
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there