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

Sport
Premier League Live
footballLIVE Follow all the Premier League action as it happens
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + echSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
News
James Argent from Towie is missing, police say
peopleTV star had been reported missing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
News
i100
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

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone