Shinji Kagawa welcomes competition from Wayne Rooney at Manchester United
The Japanese forward is 'inspired' by competition for places rather than shy of it
Tuesday 09 July 2013
Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa admits he must improve on his first season's work at Old Trafford.
The Japan star did emerge from his debut campaign with a Premier League title winners' medal.
He also bagged a superb hat-trick in a late season victory over Norwich.
However, a major knee injury halted what had been an encouraging start to life with United, and the former Borussia Dortmund star never quite regained his form of old.
"It was great to win the title with United," Kagawa told Inside United.
"But I feel I still have work to do.
"I would say I am half satisfied, half unsatisfied."
With Wayne Rooney's future still unresolved, Kagawa could be asked to play a more prominent part by new boss David Moyes.
And, after taking on a pivotal role in the Dortmund outfit that won back-to-back German titles, then reached the Champions League final last term after Kagawa's exit, the 24-year-old has no doubts about his ability to carry out the job.
"You have to believe in yourself," he said.
"If you don't, things can go wrong both on and off the pitch.
"Being positive and believing in yourself is important, not only in football but also in improving as a person."
Should Rooney remain within the Red Devils fold, as Moyes hopes, the competition for Kagawa would remain huge, with Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck also vying for advanced roles beyond the midfield.
Yet it is a situation Kagawa prefers to embrace rather than shy away from.
"It is inspiring and exciting to play alongside such world class players," he said.
"Wayne can do everything to the highest standard. He has everything a football player would need: team spirit, hard work, switching between attack and defence.
"You don't see such players very often. He plays for the team, plus he can score and assist.
"There is so much I can learn from him and I enjoy playing with him.
"Robin, of course, made the difference with his goals. He's wonderful."
With his team-mates due to leave Manchester tomorrow for the first leg of their five-match tour of the Far East and Australia, Kagawa will initially be an onlooker.
After being given an extended break following his Confederations Cup stint with Japan, Kagawa will not link up with Moyes and his team until they reach Yokohama on July 21.
He is evidently looking forward to the challenge, especially now his former team-mates have provided the example of reaching Europe's biggest game, even though the outcome did not turn out as Dortmund would have wished.
"I was inspired to see Dortmund make the final," he said.
"I want to play better in the Champions League next season and was encouraged to know there is a chance to be on the great stage."
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