Sir Alex Ferguson: Shinji Kagawa's best is yet to come at Manchester United
Scot blame the physical challenge of the Premier League for Japan international's slow start
Sir Alex Ferguson says Manchester United fans will see the best of Shinji Kagawa next season, after the midfielder's tough term acclimatising to the English game.
Sir Alex paid Borussia Dortmund £17m for the Japan international in the summer, and says Kagawa has been scuppered by the leap in physicality from the Bundesliga to the Premier League.
He said: “The difference between German and English football is that in Germany you can’t foul. You are not allowed to touch anyone in Germany, so he has come from that environment to the Premier League, which is totally different.
“There is a physicality to our game which is different from Germany, but next year he’ll be better."
Kagawa was withdrawn from Wednesday's Champions League last-16 tie against Real Madrid early in the second half, after struggling to make an impact.
The 23-year-old, recently back from 10 weeks out with an injury, was replaced by Ryan Giggs and is expected to start tonight's FA Cup match against Reading on the bench.
Ferguson may recall Nemanja Vidic, Tom Cleverley, Anderson, Ashley Young and Javier Hernández to the side tonight, and said: “You have to keep them all contributing and keep them involved.
“It isn’t easy because there were a lot of disappointed players on Wednesday and I don’t think anyone expected me to pick that team, but we did and it was OK."
And Sir Alex's opposite number tonight, Brian McDermott, reckons United's dominance in this season's Premier League is down to the bitter disappointment of losing the title to Manchester City in the final seconds of last season.
McDermott said: "It's a surprise to see United so far ahead in the Premier League when you look at the calibre of opposition they're up against.
"They're 12 points in front with 12 games to go and Sir Alex Ferguson won't take anything for granted, there's no doubt about that. To move on the way they did from last season, to take that on to the pitch and that hurt, tells you the power of the people there.
"The hurt that day would have given them a tough summer. But you have two ways of going: you either go under as a club or get stronger. United have got stronger."
Latest in Sport
Louis van Gaal denies problem with Wilfried Zaha despite Manchester United forward being given no game time
Calum Chambers: Who is Arsenal's £16m right-back target?
Manchester United latest: Angel Di Maria move no closer as Juan Mata emerges as Louis van Gaal's favoured No 10 as prospect of signing
Arsenal transfer news: Versatile Calum Chambers is a 'gamble', admits Arsene Wenger as Arsenal spending passes £50m
Everton transfer news: Romelu Lukaku deal ON, Roberto Martinez assures fans
- 1 Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
- 2 The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 3 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
- 4 Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star, dies aged 45
- 5 Businessman charged £75 for three small bottles of water in London hotel
The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace